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F1 Mole | 17:20 UK time, Thursday, 4 June 2009

The grey clouds glowering over Istanbul on Thursday seemed to match the mood in the paddock ahead of the Turkish Grand Prix.

If Monte Carlo's sunshine signalled an entente cordiale between the sport's governing body, the FIA, and F1 Teams' Association (Fota) over the future of the sport then Turkey's damp weather brought more confusion and uncertainty.

At the Monaco Grand Prix, it appeared that FIA president Max Mosley was prepared to give ground on his plans to impose a 45m euro (£39.6m) budget in 2010.

It all seemed to be agreed; the teams would continue to compete under the existing rules and would be able to spend up to 100m euro (£87.6m) next year with the full cap introduced in 2011.

Mosley was also understood to be ready to sign a new Concorde Agreement - or at least an extension to the one that expired in 2007 - which would give the teams more say in how the sport is governed.

In return, the established teams offered to share knowledge with any new outfits entering next season.

But just 11 days later - and with the prospective entries for 2010 handed in to the FIA - the fragility of that resolution has been exposed with Mosley saying if the teams don't like the rules they are free to quit and organise a rival series.

And on 29 May all nine remaining Fota teams, Ferrari, McLaren, Brawn Grand Prix, Renault, BMW Sauber, Toyota, Red Bull, Toro Rosso and Force India, submitted conditional entries for next season's championship.

They insisted they would only race if they were able to operate under the current technical regulations and with the higher budget agreed in Monaco.

Williams were suspended from Fota for agreeing to compete next season regardless of the regulations.

However, a cluster of new teams have also emerged as potential competitors in 2010.

In all, 10 known new teams have submitted entries to the FIA. They believe that they are entering a cost-capped championship with technical assistance to keep them competitive.

With Williams pretty much guaranteed to be on the grid, that is more than enough to hold a championship without any of the Fota teams. Their participation in 2010 hangs on the FIA giving in to at least some of their demands.

Some F1 insiders believe Mosley has no intention of going ahead with the compromise he brokered with Fota in Monaco.

Max Mosley chats to the press after the meeting with the Formula One Teams Association in Monaco

The FIA president is understood to want to forge ahead with his plan to run the championship as he wants and to stick to his rules on the budget cap, which reward teams who operate within the £40m figure with greater technical freedom.

Some believe Mosley is so wedded to the idea that he is prepared to lose big names like Ferrari, Renault and Toyota, who have all threatened to quit the sport if the budget cap is imposed.

All that may go some way to explain the scurrying of key players around the Istanbul paddock on Thursday.

With Mosley absent in Istanbul, Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali went to meet the president's representative, Alan Donnelly, in the FIA motor home.

Rather ominously, the electric blinds whirred down to black out the windows and keep prying eyes away once Domenicali sat down for a tête-à-tête with the FIA man.

After emerging from the dark, Domenicali moved swiftly on for a meeting at McLaren HQ.

When asked about the current state of negotiations between Fota and the FIA, he shrugged his shoulders and replied: "What can I say? Nothing."

An official Fota meeting is not scheduled for this weekend, although there is no doubt the team principals will have plenty to talk about in Turkey.

One nugget to emerge already in Istanbul is that the idea for the Fota teams to submit "conditional" entries came from Mosley himself with the promise to discuss the finer details once the paperwork had been received.

But with the FIA set to announce which entrants have been chosen to line up on the 2010 grid on 12 June, time for talking is running out fast.


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