The eight FOTA teams are to meet with the suspended members (Force India, Williams) and the new entrants (Campos, Manor and USF1) at the Nurburgring on Wednesday to begin discussing the regulations and other plans for 2010 season.
It will be interesting to see what will come out of these talks. The peace deal between FIA and FOTA is one thing, but there are also 5 non FOTA teams listed as 2010 entries.
There has been a lot of noise surrounding the letters Max Mosley sent out last night reminding non FOTA teams about their rights and FOTA members about the International Sporting Code.
66. Amendments to Supplementary Regulations
No amendments shall be made to the Supplementary Regulations after the beginning of the period for receiving entries, unless unanimous agreement is given by all competitors already entered, or by decision of the stewards of the meeting for reasons of force majeure or safety (see Article 141).
FOTA members may not be too excited about the prospect of having 3 teams that are yet to show up for a F1 race potentially ruining their version of 2010 F1 season. But the fact is, Campos, Manor, USF1 as well as Williams and Force India are the 2010 entrants. (see also Mosley, FOTA and the other 2010 F1 teams – What is next ? ) Any changes to the published regulations simply will require agreement of all 13 teams. This would be the case with or without the letter sent by Max Mosley. We may never find out what was said and agreed on at that Mosley, Ecclestone, Montezemolo meeting thet led to the fragile peace between FIA and FOTA. I however tend to believe that FOTA members must have been aware of some rules that will have to be followed. (At the end FOTA knowing the rule book prevented FIA from imposing the winner takes all system for 2009 season.)
I still remember the somber press conference at Silverstone (the breakaway seemed inevitable at that time) when Ross Brawn said this:
One of the dilemmas that the teams have, touching on what Christian (Horner) mentioned, is that the rules are published, five teams have entered under those rules including Adam’s team (Williams) and the rules, as they stand today, are that next year there’s a £40m budget cap. You can have a movable rear wing, you can have four wheel drive, you can have double strength KERS, you have any number of things. Now in fairness, Max has said that he will correct those, he will put those back to how they should be and we’ll operate under one set of rules but by definition, we’re asking for governance which would mean that the governance needs those teams to agree to those rule changes, otherwise it’s not governance, so how do we get those teams to agree to those rule changes if the governance, by definition, means that they have to agree to it. I don’t know what Adam’s position is, he might quite happily say here that he will agree to all of them but there are five teams involved and there are no guarantees. Max, quite genuinely, may believe that he can swing it but we’ve got to enter the championship on the assumption that those things will be corrected and sorted and I don’t know how it’s done, maybe inducements that are made to the teams to give them support in some way because obviously they’re going to struggle in Formula One but we’ve got ourselves into this sort of vicious loop. Some teams are more relaxed about finding a solution to that than others but collectively, as a group, it was very difficult for FOTA to accept that.
Judging from the above FOTA must have been aware that they will have to work out the deal with all the teams. At the same press conference (reminder, that was before the peace deal) Adam Parr said this in response to Ross Brawn:
Because Ross has almost asked the question I would like it to make it very clear that Williams would do anything that met with the approval of the FIA and the FOTA teams that could result in a solution. We will never prevent or be party to anything that would prevent that from happening.
At the end, Williams (and Force India) have been stating that the reason why they went their own way and signed up twere their contractual obligations, not a conflict with other FOTA members.
The new teams, Campos, Manor and USF1 haven’t so far indicated they plan to go to war with FOTA over the 2010 regulations. USF1 and Campos seem to be determined to be on the grid with or without the budget cap. They would probably be very interested in learning more about FOTA’s planned support for new teams but I do not see them blocking any deal.
How will Manor act ? They made no secret of the fact that without the budget cap they would not have signed up. Unlike Campos and USF1 they won’t comment on their F1 future until the 2010 regulations are clear. And they have been under some serious PR attack for Adam Donnelly’s involvent in their entry …
This is the golden opportunity for FOTA to show they can get the job done …