Last week FOTA and FIA finally reached some sort of a deal and made peace. While the deal is still in place that peace hasn’t lasted for long. Instead of shutting up and moving on both sides obviously prefer to continue their war of words. Some FOTA representatives while presenting the deal to public could not resist to make few provocative remarks aimed at Max Mosley. Max Mosley being Max Mosley pulled the “I may reconsider and run again in October” weapon from his arsenal. So what is next ?
Well I believe that while the big egos will keep on talking on both sides of the divide the breakaway series is dead (for now) and the preparations for 2010 Formula One season will now go full steam ahead.
First step must be to finalize the 2010 regulations. According to the FIA/FOTA agreement the 2010 F1 season will be run to 2009 regulations as well as further regulations agreed prior to 29 April 2009 (like the refuelling ban). FOTA representatives also mentioned incorporating some of their ideas (and FOTA Global Audience Survey findings) into the regulations. They need to move quickly as it is about the time to beging work on 2010 cars …
Then there is the question of the entry list. Yes, we can see all 8 FOTA teams confirmed their 2010 entries. But there are 5 other teams that signed up expecting different regulations. OK, Williams and Force India did so only because they had no other way and they may be perfectly fine with what FOTA has been pushing through. However all three new entrants – USF1, Campos and Manor – entered under the £40m budget cap plan that is no longer there. USF1 perhaps should be fine as this team was ready for F1 long before the budget cap came about. But how about Campos and Manor ? Will whatever regulations FOTA finally comes up with be still feasible for them ?
We haven’t heard much from Campos yet, but Manor Grand Prix team principal John Booth already said that his team probably would not have signed up had he known that it would be competing to 2009 rules. Booth is still confident that his team will be on the grid but also admits that without the budget cap the situation is more complicated. It is wait and see time for Manor at the moment …
Another interesting issue to watch will be the engines. USF1, Campos and Manor declared Cosworth as their engine supplier for 2010. Prior to the peace deal however Max Mosley insisted that the Cosworth engines will have to be the 2007 20,000 rpm version as Cosworth will not be able to modify their engine in such a short time. FOTA did have a problem with this higher revving powerplant and we can assume that either Cosworth will have to adjust their V8 to 2009 regulations or the newcomers will need to select engines from Ferrari, Mercedes, Toyota, Renault or BMW. At the moment only BMW is without a customer for their engine while Mercedes engines power McLaren, Force India and Brawn GP cars. Three current teams - Brawn GP, Toro Rosso and Red Bull are yet to announce their engine deals for 2010.
Now when the future of F1 is (sort of) secured the teams will start looking around for drivers and drivers for teams. There are some that are connected with move to other teams (Alonso, Rosberg, Kubica), there is Kimi Raikkonen and questions about his commitment, there are also some that haven’t done that well (Piquet, Bourdais or Kovalainen). With 3 potential new entries there are however also potentially 6 extra seats on the grid next year and several names have already been mentioned by media (di Grassi, Grosjean, Senna, Liuzzi, Klien, Davidson, Sato, Patrick, di Resta even Jacques Villeneuve). Look like interesting rumour season ahead .