Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Ferrari fail in budget-cap appeal

Ferrari have failed in their bid to stop Formula 1's governing body introducing controversial new rules that limit team spending.

Their appeal against the FIA, which wants to introduce an optional £40m budget cap from 2010, was dismissed by a French court in Paris on Wednesday.

The proposal has prompted Ferrari to threaten to quit F1, with Renault, Red Bull and Toyota holding a similar view.

The official deadline for entries into the 2010 world championship is 29 May.

The FIA's regulations for 2010 propose giving teams who accept the cap greater technical freedom than those wishing to carry on with unlimited budgets, such as Ferrari.

It says it wants to introduce the move in order to cut costs and ensure F1's survival amid the global financial crisis - along with encouraging new teams to enter the sport.

Ferrari say the optional budget cap would make it a two-tier championship, which they cannot accept, and that they do not believe it is possible to control.

They also say they believe it is wrong that a team accepting the budget cap has more freedom and different technical regulations, and that - with 700 employees worldwide - they are unable to reduce its finances significantly in such a short time.

Reacting to the rejection of the court injunction on Wednesday, FIA president Max Mosley said he welcomed the court's decision.

"No competitor should place their own interests above those of the sport in which they compete," he said.

"The FIA, the teams and our commercial partners will now continue to work together to ensure the well being of the Formula 1 in 2010 and beyond."

All 10 team owners had met with F1 commercial rights holder Bernie Ecclestone and Mosley in London on Tuesday and, though it was agreed a two-tier championship was not acceptable, Mosley insisted there would be "no compromise" on the cap.

Having failed to emerge with a concrete solution then, team bosses are now set to meet in Monaco ahead of this weekend's Grand Prix where they will again hold discussions with Mosley.

"You're seeing many teams trying to get into F1 next year, but if you lose Ferrari and gain new teams it won't be the same," said team driver Felipe Massa following Wednesday's appeal rejection.

"I'm a Ferrari driver and I'm very proud of that.

"The way the championship has started is very different [this year]. We've had a lot of political fighting and this does not help the sport.

"It would be nice to have more sport and less politics. It's difficult comment but many things are not over yet."

On Tuesday, Mosley said he believed that submitting the injunction was a sign Ferrari do not want to go through with their threat to quit the sport.

Before the decision was announced on Wednesday, the Italian team issued a statement on its official website referring to some of those who might take part in the 2010 championship if a budget cap was introduced.

"Wirth Research, Lola, USF1, Epsilon Euskadi, RML, Formtech, Campos, iSport: these are the names of the teams which would compete in the two-tier Formula One wanted by Mosley," it read.

"Can a world championship with teams like them - with due respect - have the same value as today's Formula One, where Ferrari, the big car manufacturers and teams, who created the history of this sport, compete?

"Wouldn't it be more appropriate to call it Formula GP3?"