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F1 Mole | 15:42 UK time, Thursday, 21 May 2009

Super-rich Monaco might not be the obvious place for a revolution but there is unrest in the air in the Principality.

Talk in the paddock along the harbour front here is focused on the ongoing row over the £40m cost cap and two-tier championship that governing body the FIA has proposed for next year.

FIA president Max Mosley and F1 commercial boss Bernie Ecclestone emerged from a crisis meeting with team bosses in London last Friday saying that they had all agreed to abandon the idea of two sets of rules and that the teams had said they would go away and try to come up with a more palatable way of saving money than Mosley's cost-cap idea.


The teams' umbrella group Fota is having a meeting on the subject on Friday - on Flavio Briatore's boat, apparently - to discuss that alternative proposal. But the Mole has been hearing that there is a hardcore among the teams pushing for an approach rather more radical than that.

The word here in Monaco is that Ferrari, Toyota and Red Bull intend to use the meeting to try to persuade the other teams to join them in walking away from Formula 1 altogether and setting up their own championship.

All three teams have already made that threat publicly, of course, saying they will not race in F1 in 2010 if Mosley does not change the rules he has introduced.

That has generally been viewed as an initial negotiating position from which to start discussions that would eventually lead to the inevitable compromise that F1 always seems to reach in these situations.

But it seems that attitudes in some of the teams have hardened - that the 'rebel three' feel they have had enough of what they see as Mosley's meddling and that they would be better served in abandoning F1.

Right now, it appears the other seven teams do not intend to join them - and the most likely outcome almost certainly remains that some sort of compromise will be reached that keeps Ferrari in a cheaper F1 in 2010.

How long it will take to get there, though, is another matter. And the way things are going it does not look like being resolved before the 29 May deadline Mosley has imposed for teams to lodge their entries.

It remains a distinct possibility that some of the major teams will not lodge entries by that date. That could leave them waiting to find out how many of the much-mooted new teams will actually front up, or even forced into buying one of those new teams if they wanted to enter at a later date.

Mosley is arriving in Monaco on Thursday evening, and he plans to meet the teams for talks in the afternoon after the Fota meeting.

Ecclestone clearly wants to Ferrari to stay on board, and will be doing everything he can to ensure that happens.

In the meantime, it seems the rest of us should settle in for a few weeks of the sort of politicking F1 does so well - and which was summed up rather neatly by BMW Sauber boss Mario Theissen in L'Equipe newspaper on Friday morning.

"If you look back," he said, "these negotiations, discussions, have already spiced up F1 in the past. And even gained more interest in the public. So in some ways apparently it's part of F1. I personally do not need it, and I hope we will get over it quite soon. But I don't think it will (do any) damage."


  • 1. At 4:48pm on 21 May 2009, mclovin_f1 wrote:

    would love to be a fly on the highly polished wall of Flavio's boat.

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  • 2. At 5:04pm on 21 May 2009, CorazonLatino wrote:

    I shall be so glad once all of this is sorted out!

    The manufacturers would lose a heck of a lot in terms of advertising if they pulled out and which other series would they want to go into as an alternative? F1 is the pinnacle of car racing and no other series comes close in terms of the worldwide fanbase.

    I'm confident that, one way or another, this will be sorted and we will have Ferrari, Toyota etc. on the F1 grid next season.

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  • 3. At 5:05pm on 21 May 2009, el_tel wrote:

    Hmmmm, isn't this the same Ferrari that were the ones to sign up to F1 a few year ago? Funny how their tune has change now the rules changes aren't designed to give them an advantage.

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  • 4. At 6:27pm on 21 May 2009, anthonyinhove wrote:

    As Ferrari presumably has the best and most highly-paid staff, a spending cap of £40m would mean it would have to manage with fewer people than minnows like Lola or whoever. That is in addition to having to sack well over half of the people it has at the moment, people who have served the company over many years with great dedication. This seems to me to be a completely unreasonable way to treat such a great team (and I am not a Ferrari fan). I think Ferrari and those teams that wish to compete with them will have to run their own series in 2010 unless the budget cap is set at a far higher level than has been proposed to date.

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  • 5. At 6:54pm on 21 May 2009, InModeration wrote:

    #2 CorazonLatino - now addicted to the song "El Nano" by Melendi... MAGIC ALONSO!, you miss the point.

    If F1 is to be made up of Manufacturer teams running to restrictive rules losing to 'B' teams running to open rules, it will not be good advertising, will it?

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  • 6. At 7:13pm on 21 May 2009, Ian Bittiner wrote:

    I'd say not, InModeration, as there will not be a 2 tier championship (it was actually mentioned in this article, as well as many others).

    I'd question it on the basis of: If there is another championship set up with unlimited budgets, and F1 has limited budgets, what will the pinnacle really be? Where will the fastest cars and biggest teams (and subsequently, the fans and advertising) go?

    I'm playing devil's advocate there really, as I don't believe it will happen due to many factors.

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  • 7. At 9:02pm on 21 May 2009, xFlying-Scotsmanx (#1-Buttonfan) wrote:

    Its not often i find myself agreeing with Ferrari on ANY subject,but on this subject i couldnt agree more.

    For years the FIA has been messing around with the rules,and telling the teams to put up or shut up.
    For years,there have been grumblings from the teams that there would be a breakaway championship,govorned by racers,for racers.
    For years i have patiently awaited this new race series,but it has never happened. :(
    this seems to be the closest we have come to realising the dream of a real championship,away from all the annoying tinkering of FIA suits who have nothing better to do than slowly kick the worlds greatest sport to death.

    In an ideal world NO existing team would sign up for next years championship.They would go off and form their own....with rules that make sense,dont change every season,and cant be adjusted on the whim of some no-name steward who has no business meddling with things he cant understand.
    Max and Bern can then get on with it,(in a 3 team championship) while all the fans and sponsors can follow the real teams,racing the way F1 was intended to be raced.

    i too dont think this will happen....but it will always be the dream.

    another thing thats been bugging me(but which is in no way related) - the points were changed a few years back to help the drivers who didnt drive a Ferrari and were not called Michael.Now that he has retired,why havent we reverted to the good old 10,6,4,3,2,1 scoring system that served us well for so many years?

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  • 8. At 9:07pm on 21 May 2009, AlexOfAlexia wrote:

    If there was a split and enough of the big teams walked away to leave F1 effectively dead and start a new championship, where would this leave the BBC and the television rights? Knowing Ecclestone and Mosley they'd probably get some new teams and bullishly carry on but would that leave the Beeb with a very expensive contract for a second rate championship?

    Personally, this whole debacle just seems very chilidish. F1 politics seems to follow the cold war, MAD principles of brinkmanship over any kind of co-operation and diplomacy.

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  • 9. At 9:18pm on 21 May 2009, mightySpannerHead wrote:

    I for one always want to see the ultimate technology and performance on display. That is what F1 is for - or was for maybe.
    Capping teams to such an extent definately devalues the principals of this formula, and if Ferrari go off with the other big manufacturers to a series they create with far fewer technical and budgetry constraints, I would certainly be watching that instead of a bunch of small teams going slower in F1.
    With the might of the manufacturers they could buyout the ailing GP2 franchise that is ready made and waiting for them.
    The management of F1's rules by Max has become a joke lately - 2 weeks before the start of this season they were going to abolish the points system and they are still banging on about this stupid medal system.
    Jenson has only got win a few more races to finish the championship off mid season on those proposed rules!
    Roll on Formula Ultimate! or is that FU... Max and Bernie?

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  • 10. At 10:04pm on 21 May 2009, xFlying-Scotsmanx (#1-Buttonfan) wrote:

    @ AlexOfAlexia

    unless you actually work for the bbc and are contractually obliged to care,i dont see why you would.
    i can honestly say i couldnt care less about the bbcs financial problems and wouldnt lose a wink of sleep over it.

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  • 11. At 10:17pm on 21 May 2009, startyourengines wrote:

    are you sure the meeting isn't on Sir Richard Branson's boat?

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  • 12. At 10:32pm on 21 May 2009, realrustyj wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 13. At 11:21pm on 21 May 2009, Medieval-Evil wrote:

    The budget cap is a poorly thought-out and highly unfair system of regulating F1. A lot of people would stand to lose their jobs if this belt-tightening goes ahead.

    It's unfortunate that these political manoeuvrings are overshadowing what has been a very exciting start to the season.

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  • 14. At 11:25pm on 21 May 2009, aquaticjennie wrote:

    It is about time mosley went

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  • 15. At 01:14am on 22 May 2009, ferfla57 wrote:

    It's a shame the the fight for "Materialistic Power" is putting in third plan the beauty of sport. It should never happened in F-1 which is not the top any more. Polemic & Politics doesn't attract public. People are simple and wants to be able to get closer to the pilots and cars. Wake up Mosley before is too late.

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  • 16. At 02:17am on 22 May 2009, bray11 wrote:

    I have two questions ...

    1 If the big teams pull out or go to a different series .. then were will the Engines come from for the current F1 teams ... great to talk about Lola Brawn and Red Bull but without Renault, Ferrari & Mercedes power what happens.

    2. What happens to all the people that will loose jobs.

    I have followed F1 since the days of Cooper and BRM .. I can say it has never been in a bigger mess from the fans point of view. It been under a clound since Melbourne with McLaren and Brawn defusers .. this all get settled and now this.

    I have been a fan of F1 to see the best cars going as fast as possible with the best drivers ... could we just go back to this.

    I think a race with Ferrari, McLaren, Renault, Toyota and Brawn ... would be better than the alternative of just Brawn and Lola and some unknown car builders.

    Not sure which side BMW is on with all this

    Thats my bit on the mess .. lets just back to life before the capping idea .. lets listen to the actual teams ideas and lets see the the money F1 generates go more to all of the teams.

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  • 17. At 08:58am on 22 May 2009, Neil wrote:

    I thought that the proposed budget cap did NOT include staff wages? In which case fewer people would lose their jobs, and potentially, more people could be employed as the big teams look for ways to get the most out of their parts, and squeeze as much out of the £40M as possible

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  • 18. At 09:23am on 22 May 2009, bigfatskunkreefa wrote:

    Its easy to complain about the many different rule changes and the constantly evolving championship that is F1. But what would it be without it?

    I like the high drama and childish threats that are evoked from all these proposed changes. Its like watching Eastenders but for men!

    I too want to watch the best drivers, in the best cars and the best technology, however I also enjoy the playground atmosphere that is ever present in the paddock.

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  • 19. At 09:44am on 22 May 2009, Mike wrote:

    Bray11 said "I think a race with Ferrari, McLaren, Renault, Toyota and Brawn ... would be better than the alternative of just Brawn and Lola and some unknown car builders."

    Unknown car makers like Ferrari, Alfa, Bugatti etc all were before they got into F1? They might be unknown now, but that doesn't mean they'll be less competitive, or less well knwon in a few years time.

    My view on the whole thing is that it's all a bit of a farse. As Max Mosely put it in one interview; if you give in to Ferrari all the time, then there is no point in having a governing body, and you may as well just elt Ferarri run it. I don't think ferarri will leave, and I think to a degree it's a hollow threat to get what they want. That said, they're so stubborn that they'd probarbly leave now just so they don't look like fools!

    I don't like the way politics is over-shadowing the on track racing, which has been great. That said, I do find myself reading every blog on the matter, and hearing about it on the news. So maybe, in terms of coverage for the sport, Bernie won't be too dissapointed at this stage!

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  • 20. At 10:09am on 22 May 2009, OneEyedSam wrote:

    The clue is in the question it's formula 1, not formula 1.5

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  • 21. At 10:13am on 22 May 2009, spurs_surfer wrote:

    I have to say this is an interesting situation and something comes to mind from a few years back and i've been somewhat surprised no ones (Talking to the BBC here)picked up on it as yet in light of where F1 seems to be going and Max Moseleys stance in it all.

    I recall an interview or piece with Sir Frank Williams where he brought up a conversation he had with Moseley where Moseley informed him that his business model was defunct and that F1 teams would only be manufacturer based from then on!

    A somewhat intriguing statement considering he is now courting these non-manufacturer backed teams into F1 and seems ambivilant to the big manufacturers like Ferrari, Mercedes-McLaren, Toyota etc leaving now!

    It seems to me that the only reason Moseley gets involved every year is to increase his public image and get himself in the papers!! Who would know who he was if he didnt make these rediculous statements and rule changes every other year, it seems he is doing this more for himself than F1 and the public who watch it...

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  • 22. At 10:17am on 22 May 2009, chris4454 wrote:

    It is just unbelievable that the F1 teams let Mosley dictate to them how they spend their own money.
    Mosley seems to have long since forgotten that there would not be any F1 without the teams, but there certainly would be F1 without Mosley. The teams do not need Mosley, it is he who needs them. F1 provides most of the money to keep this son of a Fascist with his little empire to lord it over. Who the hell does he think he is?!

    I hope the teams do pull out and send a clear message to Mosley to stop fiddling around with the rules, let them spend their own money how they want to, and stop making life difficult for the people who pay for his existence.

    We should also recognise that Mosley does not want more teams in F1 for the love of F1. He wants them there so he is not at risk of a strong teams like Ferrari telling where to stick it, thereby disrupting his gravy train.. He wants more weak teams who will touch their forelocks when Mosley hands over the "Tablets of Stone" with his latest pronouncements that they must slavishly obey.

    There is only one thing needed to vastly improve the spectacle that is F1 and that is to get rid of Mosley!

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  • 23. At 10:17am on 22 May 2009, gw_knowle wrote:

    I think we have to keep reminding ourselves of a few things to keep all of this in some sort of perspective.
    Complaints regarding the constant interference with rules are a little unfair. Whilst some changes are made to try and keep the racing interesting, regulation changes introduced by the FIA are often forced upon them by safety issues. The cars performance needs to be constantly reigned in. Unrestricted, the speeds would rapidly become quite literally lethal.
    Ferrari, Toyota and RedBull (and others) have thrown their teddies from the pram because they are in a position to maintain the existing massive budgets. They are, as is the nature of these things, attempting to protect their own interests.
    If these teams carried out their threat and created a "breakaway championship where exactly would they race? I dont believe for one minute that Bernie, Max or indeed the FIA will relinquish there contracts with the current circuits. Im also sure the legal proceedings the aforementioned parties would bring against the dissident teams would last years. By time all this got sorted both F1 and the breakaway championship would be dead. A situation even Ferrari do not want.
    Ferrari does not run F1. For that matter, No individual team runs F1 and F1 will continue without Ferrari.
    Ferrari and Redbull will be on that starting grid next year! Im not so sure about Toyota. They may well be looking for a reason to do a Honda and dip out. Should they fail to secure their first win this season, I suspect the powers in Japan will pull out in similar fashion to Honda i.e. in the closed season.
    F1 must keep evolving. Providing the realistic opportunity for new teams to enter the championship is extremely important. If that means a budget cap, then so be it.
    One final thought. The people who work for the teams are the best in there professions. They are quite literally geniuses at what they do. Even with massively reduced budgets, they will find new, ingenious ways of eking every ounce of performance from the cars. The cap simply means that they will be spending less money on the obscene fripperies (by which I mean the motor homes etc) that accompany the teams from race to race.

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  • 24. At 10:34am on 22 May 2009, JimMatthew wrote:

    I am no expert, but as a fan, I do want to see closer racing and overtaking that doesn´t only take place during pit stops, more teams competing could only be an improvement. In PR terms, in the current economic climate, being seen to try to control costs has to good for the sport too. But, wouldn´t it be better to tackle this in a different way? How about only allowing "approved" engines that conform to standards in terms of size, mounting points etc and are therefore interchangeable. If engine manufacturers were then required to make their engines available to any team at a capped price (or even leased on a race-by-race basis) wouldn´t that make for a more even playing-field? Ferrari etc would obviously be too proud to use another manufacturer´s engine, but would either have to improve their own if they were uncompetetive, or would see every other team start using them if they were the best! The same rules could be applied to other key components as well. This would retain the elements of competetive design amongst manufacturers, whilst allowing teams to pick and choose from a selection of price-capped, off-the-shelf components and by adding their own aerodynamics and other tweaks, produce reasonably priced, competetive cars.

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  • 25. At 10:37am on 22 May 2009, footythingscouk wrote:

    how many staff will Ferrari sack if they pull out of F1 and can't get the backing for a rival championship?

    The fact that staff will lose jobs is a fact of life and becomes almost irrelevant as this will happen whichever way the solution goes. Costs have to be cut, generally staff are the first and easiest cost to cut, it happens in every industry including motor racing accept it.

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  • 26. At 10:42am on 22 May 2009, jez wrote:

    There was a similar breakaway threat a few years ago - remember the GPWC...? The problem then and the problem now is that all the half decent circuits (and most of the major broadcasters) have long term exclusive agreements with the commercial rights holder.

    There are exceptions: Imola, Silverstone and Indianapolis - but getting from where we are in May 2009 to a whole new championship with TV deals, logistics etc by March 2010 would be a real challenge!

    Much more likely would be a move to race in an existing series, perhaps in North America. It would change their model but there is also A1 GP. There are plenty of options that already have the infrastructure in place. The idea that Ferrari, Toyota and Red Bull would set up F1 2.0 is probably missing the point.

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  • 27. At 10:44am on 22 May 2009, jensonsmum wrote:

    anyone think Ferrari are having tantrums 'cause their car's cr*p?
    would they be creating all this fuss if they were leading the championship? i don't think so! i don't want F1 without Ferrari, but i don't want to listen to constant whingeing and whining from grown ups who should know better. that's what kids are for. (that and sweeping chimneys of course)

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  • 28. At 10:47am on 22 May 2009, footythingscouk wrote:

    Great teams have come and gone, where are Brabham, BRM, Lotus etc now?
    New teams can and will become great, look at McLaren and Williams as examples.

    Frank Williams was still racing in the 70's and McLaren didn't set up until the early 80's (in their current form) but they are still great teams.

    Toyota and Red Bull are not great teams just teams that could, one day, become great if they went now we'd just never know.

    The fact that old teams could come back ie Lola could be good for the sport. If this stops teams going bankrupt or selling out before they do as Prost, Honda, and others have done then a cap has to be goodnews in the long term.

    Losing a team who wish to dictate the rules of a sport rather than negotiate them cannot be seen as a bad thing. If Force India decided that they where going to hold F1 and the FIA to ransom then everyone would say "they can't do that, let them go" so why should any other team be allowed to do the same.

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  • 29. At 10:51am on 22 May 2009, apapworth1 wrote:

    If Ferrari et al. leave and set-up a rival series, it will once again be the fans that miss out. Its quite amusing that members of some teams (notably Renault) have said a non-manafacturer led series would not be truly F1. Given that F1 ran like that for vast swathes of the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s, it's not really a valid point.

    I have two simple solutions... (that can be joined together).

    1. The budget capped teams get free OFF TRACK stuff: one set of rules on the track, and the teams who spend less than $40m (for example) are given free freight transport, subsidised fuel and tyres, etc.

    2. The actual cost of the car is capped: if a team spends less than say $15m developing their chassis, they get a free (off the shelf) cossie engine.

    Any thoughts?

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  • 30. At 10:52am on 22 May 2009, footythingscouk wrote:

    Andersongoalmachine wrote:
    I thought that the proposed budget cap did NOT include staff wages? In which case fewer people would lose their jobs, and potentially, more people could be employed as the big teams look for ways to get the most out of their parts, and squeeze as much out of the 40M as possible

    My understanding was that it didn't include drivers wages, if it did they'd be going round in carts, as there'd be no money left to build a car never mind develop one.

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  • 31. At 1:05pm on 22 May 2009, Matt wrote:

    I'm not old enough to have seen the last coup in F1 when Bernie (A team boss at the time) & his legal advisor Mosley took power but isn't it time for change at the top.

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  • 32. At 1:25pm on 22 May 2009, lucabix wrote:

    So Mosley makes everyone spend tons of money in 2008 developing Kers, then in 2009 everyone spends tons of money in developing the DDDs to catch-up with Brawn, then in 2010 we cap the expnditure... can Mr Mosley please tell us what he has in store for 2011, 2012 so that at least the teams can do some planning ?? and also can he pls explain how he thinks teams can develop 4x4 cars with such a budget cap ? F1 has always been at the cutting edge of technology that we see passed on to the cars we drive (think gear flaps on steering wheel,carbon fibre, kers in cars soon to be launched) - I want F1 to continue to be at the pinnacle of motorsports... or else I'll start following other motor sports... I'll swap Silverstone/Donnington for Le Mans... and I'm sure many others will do the same.... Mosley/Ecclestone you better thing this through !!!

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  • 33. At 1:25pm on 22 May 2009, John H wrote:

    How can the FIA introduce costly things like KERS and then apply a £40m cap the next season?

    This solitary question explains why Mosley & Bernie must leave the sport immediately (as we all know), and someone else must restore stability in a leading racing series - be it called F1 or something else.

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  • 34. At 3:12pm on 22 May 2009, TerminalOversteer wrote:

    I see Alonso has also talked about walking away if this is not resolved. So if it isn't enough for Bernie that TV rights will be worth junk in Italy next year without Ferrari, it'll be the same in Spain. And with Donnington looking decidedly shakey, the Brits are going to get turned-off. Can it get any worse?

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  • 35. At 3:14pm on 22 May 2009, terraradmonkey wrote:

    Is it time Max Mosley departs F1? I thinj fans want to see racing and not politics.

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  • 36. At 3:49pm on 22 May 2009, emadf1 wrote:

    With due respect to all, Ferrari have and will always remain the major force behind F1; on and off the track. They are the oldest, most successful and the richest in the sport. F1 is all about money. They have a right to a veto. If and when they leave F1, the damages would be beyond repair and soon the motorsport world will see a new competition rivalling F1; perhaps a new Premier Formula.

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  • 37. At 5:49pm on 22 May 2009, NottsDean wrote:

    A quick gaze into the Crystal Ball and ... Several major teams won't submit entries by the 29th and Max will allow enough new teams in to ensure that there are not enough slots left for all the 'late entries'.

    By guaranteeing that the last team to blink will not have a slot on the grid he will try and break the unity of FOTA.

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  • 38. At 6:14pm on 22 May 2009, Andrew Downes wrote:

    Unfortunately IMHO, even though they may not like it, the teams need Ecclestone and Mosley, just as Ecclestone and Mosley need the teams. Signing up circuits, broadcasters, ticket agencies along with many others, and thereby creating a series, is far from trivial and contracts already signed cannot be easily transferred.

    Just one of many thoughts along these lines: If a new series were created for next season, would the BBC have the rights to it? Would they get back what they've paid Formula One Group (Ecclestone's company) for the rights? It wouldn't be certain.

    For these reasons, a split is not going to happen and a compromise will be reached.

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  • 39. At 11:32pm on 22 May 2009, me wrote:

    'It has also emerged in the last week that Ferrari and the FIA had signed an agreement four years ago that gave them the right of veto over the sport's rules.'

    So much for people who argued there was no bias, no 'special relationship' with Ferrari. This itself is a disgrace. It's like the FA saying Man Utd can veto anything they don't like in football. I'm amazed the other teams aren't going beserk over this. Why was this done? By whom? Did the FIA vote on it - presumably not as nobody seems to have known anything about it. Mosley should go, for this alone.

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  • 40. At 08:57am on 23 May 2009, Mrs Treacher wrote:

    I like the idea of the subsidys and freebies for under £40m

    Another idea, is this. Why not just have it so the cars cannot exceed £40m a season, or people that want to play budgets, the bigger teams have to supply them with stuff like engines for say £2-3 million.....

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