No end in sight for F1 power struggle
As Formula 1 convenes at Silverstone for this weekend's British Grand Prix, heads are spinning as people try to navigate their way through the latest developments in the political crisis that threatens to tear the sport apart.
Amid the mire of speculation, double-talk and untruths, though, one thing is abundantly clear - there is little prospect of an early end to this seemingly endless row over the future of F1.
That is the time by which he has asked the five teams whose entries into next year's championship are conditional - Brawn, McLaren, BMW Sauber, Renault and Toyota - to sign up unconditionally or risk having their places taken by a number of aspiring entrants.
In reality, that deadline is effectively meaningless, as is the distinction Mosley is drawing between those five teams and the other three members of the teams' umbrella group Fota - Ferrari, Red Bull and Toro Rosso - whom he has listed as confirmed entries next year.
As things stand, none of those eight teams are committed to racing in F1 in 2010 and sources say there is still a long way to go before the parties involved reach a resolution.
The argument between the FIA and Fota is about reducing costs, stability of the regulations and governance of the sport.
It is also a power struggle in which the teams are determined to end the absolute control Mosley has had over the sport since he allowed the Concorde Agreement, which governed F1 and enshrined a series of rights for the teams, to lapse in 2007.
Both the FIA and the teams are committed to cutting budgets, but they want to go about it in different ways. Mosley wants to set a maximum budget; the teams want to restrict expense at source, by reducing the time they allowed to spend in a wind tunnel, or the amount of changes they can make to their cars in a season, for example.
The teams want to make it impossible for Mosley to unilaterally change the regulations in the way he has done for 2010, and they want a return to the system where rules were agreed by the teams before being submitted to the FIA for approval.
(There are longer-term issues, too, revolving around where F1 races are held and the money that is paid to the teams, but they are not what the immediate disagreement is about).
In his latest offer to the teams, Mosley has appeared to effectively give them what they want and he has invited them all to sign up on the promise that he will then make the agreed changes to the published rules.
But the teams do not trust him to honour his promise. They want to negotiate the settlement first, get it legally watertight, and then sign up for next year. If Mosley does not, they say, their ultimate fall-back position is to set up their own championship and take their world-famous drivers with them.
Mosley counters that threat with one of his own - that if they do not sign up, he will replace their entries with those of a number of other aspiring teams. He is also publicly sceptical of the ability and willingness of car makers struggling in the global financial crisis to fund their own racing series.
The problem for Mosley, though, is two-fold:
Firstly, even if he lists five more new teams as entrants next year - to add to the three he has already accepted - there is widespread scepticism that all of those teams will be able to find even the £40m they need to race in Mosley's new F1 and design and build a car.
Secondly, even if they could, what value would F1 have with a load of teams and drivers the public had never heard of - especially if the best drivers in the world were all racing for the acknowledged best teams somewhere else?
As one driver said on Thursday: "Who in Spain is going to watch an F1 world championship without Fernando Alonso in it?"
The Fota teams are meeting on Thursday night to discuss what they should do about Mosley's deadline.
Individuals within Fota are said to share differing views: some are pushing for an early compromise; some are saying they have had enough of the FIA and should set up their own championship; others want to commit to F1 but would like to see the back of Mosley.
But their collective position is absolutely clear - they want to find a solution to the current problems.
That, though, does not look likely to happen this weekend. Insiders told BBC Sport at Silverstone that the Fota teams would probably not lodge unconditional entries by the deadline of close of business in Europe on Friday.
They seem determined to remain united in pursuit of their aims, although because of their hugely differing circumstances there is always the possibility that another team might break ranks - Ferrari, for example, with their history and sizeable budget, are in a very different situation from Brawn, who at the moment have no funding for 2010.
Because the alternative would damage all of those involved, the smart money is on a compromise being reached, at some stage, one that would ultimately see F1 continue next year in much the same form as now, but with the teams bringing their budgets down by a similar amount again to the 20% they have already cut off them since 2008.
But how long it takes to get to that point - and how it is reached - is anybody's guess right now.