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Threat of F1 breakaway series revived

July 09, 2009 14:03 IST

The threat of a breakaway Formula One series loomed again Wednesday after Ferrari and seven other teams walked out of talks in Germany with the governing body and warned that the sport's future was at risk.

"The eight FOTA (Formula One Teams Association) teams were invited to attend the meeting to discuss their further proposals for 2010," the International Automobile Federation (FIA) said in a statement.

"Unfortunately, no discussion was possible because FOTA walked out of the meeting."

FOTA, who had threatened to set up their own championship until what seemed to be a breakthrough deal was announced in Paris last month, said in a statement that the future of Formula One was again "in jeopardy."

FOTA's members are championship leaders Brawn GP, BMW-Sauber, Ferrari, McLaren, Red Bull, Renault, Toro Rosso and Toyota.

The technical working group session, at the Nuerburgring before Sunday's German Grand Prix, had been due to bring together FOTA, the three new entrants for 2010 plus Williams and Force India who are suspended from FOTA.

However FOTA said they had been told during the course of Wednesday's meeting by FIA technical head Charlie Whiting that "contrary to previous agreements" they had no voting rights because they had not yet fully entered for 2010.

The situation effectively left the five non-FOTA teams, four of whom have yet to score a point in Formula One, making decisions while the likes of Ferrari, champions with an unbroken 60 years in the sport, would have been simply observers.

A request for the meeting to be postponed was rejected and FOTA said they had no option but to walk out because they could not exercise their rights.

FIA president Max Mosley had written to the five non-FOTA teams Tuesday reminding them that the published 2010 regulations could only be changed with the unanimous agreement of all confirmed teams.

In a separate letter to Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo, he said that the five non-FOTA teams were the only ones fully confirmed for next season at present.

FOTA said that at no point in the Paris discussions "was any requirement for unanimous agreement on regulations change expressed.

"To subsequently go against the will of the WMSC (FIA world motor sport council) and the detail of the Paris agreement puts the future of Formula One in jeopardy."

The FIA said the aim of the meeting had been to agree changes to the 2010 regulations, in line with the decision taken last month to revert to the version of the sporting and technical rules in place until April 29 this year.

That Paris deal had looked fragile almost immediately, with Mosley accusing Montezemolo of likening him to a dictator.

Mosley had said he would not seek re-election when his term of office ends in October, with his departure seen as a key part of the deal, but the Briton has subsequently hinted he is inclined to stand again.

Wednesday's FIA statement said that "all changes have now been agreed subject only to the maintenance of the minimum (car) weight at 620 kg and the signing of a legally binding agreement between all the teams competing in 2010 to reduce costs to the level of the early 1990s within two years, as promised by the FOTA representative in Paris on 24 June."

The minimum car weight is significant because it was originally due to be raised to take account of the costly KERS kinetic energy recovery system which the FOTA teams want to abandon for 2010.

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