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Archive for June, 2009

The new Yas Marina Island circuit at Abu Dhabi is taking shape, ahead of its first Grand Prix on November 1st, the season finale.

Today the organisers launched a video game which offers fans the chance to drive a virtual lap of the circuit.
Cregan

At Silverstone I sat down for a few minutes to chat with Richard Cregan, who is CEO of the project and responsible for bringing it in on time and to the highest F1 standards. We met in the new Ferrari motorhome, on the top floor. Aldar Properties, the company which is building the new track, has taken it for the season as a place to host its guests.

The massive undertaking of building the circuit is a new challenge for Richard, who for many years was the team manager of Toyota in sportscars and more recently Formula 1. A easy-going Dubliner, Richard is one of those guys about whom no-one in the paddock has a bad word to say, which is pretty rare. So he will be quite an asset for his employers when F1 comes to town. He understands how F1 works and will make sure that the teams fit in effortlessly to the circuit. When he was offered the Abu Dhabi job late last year he couldn’t turn it down.

Listening to Richard it is hard not to think of the contrast with poor old Simon Gillett at Donington who is fighting against all the financial odds to get his circuit revamped to host a race next year. Richard currently has 14,500 people working on his project, a rise of 2,500 for the summer months when, he tells me, efficiency drops off in the sweltering temperatures of 48 degrees! I can relate to that, I’m struggling to prevent my efficiency dropping off in the current UK heatwave and I’m not having to carry a hod around..

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“We can now see that we’ve got a track, ” he said gleefully. “Our inspection by Charlie (Whiting of the FIA) is on August 1st and it has to be ready for then.”

The scale of the track is what makes it different, and the imagination which has gone into the design. It passes underneath a hotel, the pit exit is a tunnel, for example. The track has a waterfront stretch which passes a deep water harbour, like Monaco, which has 148 berths, for yachts up to 160 metres in length. Like Monaco the boats should provide a stunning backdrop.

“It’s going to put Abu Dhabi on the international map, for motor sports and tourism, it’s part of a very big picture, a tool to activate that and a centre of excellence for motorsports, ” says Cregan.

The F1 Circuit and the Grand Prix are only part of the story. The Yas Island will include the first Ferrari theme park, a Warner Bros theme park, a golf course and other attractions. But widening the view out further from there, the development project includes Sa’adiyat Island, which will be a centre for culture and education, al Reem Island, which will be the financial hub. Abu Dhabi is setting the ground for the future.

We were talking on the Sunday morning, barely 48 hours after FOTA had announced it breakaway from the FIA. I asked Richard whether this made him nervous, given Ferrari’s involvement in Abu Dhabi, both through the theme park and the Mubadala sponsorship of the team,
“We will wait and see, like everyone else, ” he said, “The Ferrari deal is not going to influence our situation.”

Since then a peace deal has been struck, of course, but then thrown into some doubt again by FIA president Max Mosley. It’s gone very quiet on that front since Sunday. The Abu Dhabi deal is with F1 management, so they will be hosting the F1 world championship, come what may.

Jenson Button has visited the track and he will have been delighted to hear that the expected temperature for race day on November 1st is 41 degrees, which will suit his Brawn car and the way it uses the tyres.

But he may well have it all wrapped up by then.

I’m really looking forward to going to this track. It’s timely because F1 is undergoing a debate about its own values and priorities in this FIA vs FOTA struggle and one of the hot topics is the extent to which new venues replace the classic circuits. I’ve always been of the belief that a mix of the classic tracks like Spa and Monza with exciting new venues that really add something is what is called for. F1 must innovate, but not at the expense of its heritage.

Looks like Abu Dhabi is going to be an asset to the championship. Can’t wait to see it in the flesh.

To drive the virtual circuit go to: http://www.yasmarinacircuit.com/experience

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In the parallel F1 world, away from FIA and FOTA, there have been a few interesting little developments lately.

Donington got its planning permission, thanks to the resolution of the legal row between Simon Gillett and the landowners Wheatcroft and Son. Also the company which is selling the debentures, ISG, an offshoot of IMG, broke cover and commented for the first time in ages about Donington. It’s now a year since Gillett said that he would be announcing plans for a ‘fan powered debenture scheme’ to pay for the developments.

In May this year he announced the plans. Debentures will be for three, five and 10 years, with prices between £1,200 and £4,000 a year, depending on level of access.

There are 40 days of entertainment in the package plus the Grand Prix, made up of other motorsport and music events and track days.

Gillett told the Express recently that the demand is there, “We’re only looking for 4,700 a year globally to buy into our idea. Our survey shows they are out there.”

And Andrew Hampel of ISG (an offshoot of IMG, which is in charge of the debenture scheme) said, “It is nonsense to say that the Donington Park figures and debenture scheme does not stack up. Through IMG and Bastion, ISG has vast experience and we are world leaders in the area of stadium and arena marketing.

“Without doubt, as paying customers, motorsport fans are ready for the same level of quality that fans of other leading sports have become accustomed to, and there is no reason that Donington Park cannot provide that.”

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The Brawn team is running away with both championships and today I noticed that Alex Wurz, the former Honda test driver, has been talking to Auto Motor und Sport magazine about the car which Honda chose not to race. Now renamed Brawn, Wurz reckons that it is the “most expensive car with the lowest operating budget ever”, based on the assertion that it was developed in five windtunnels with three separate programmes running. I’ve heard rival teams mutter that this is the most expensive car ever made too, but thought that they were probably jealous! Meanwhile one of the designers, Jorg Zander, has left Brawn recently. Zander has moved around a fair bit in recent years between Toyota, BAR, Williams, BMW Sauber and Honda. He lasted a year at Williams, a year at BMW and two and a half years at Honda/Brawn.

Of the three new F1 teams who entered for 2010 thinking that there would be a £40 million budget cap, two say they are going ahead, while one says that it looks more difficult than it did before. USF1, which is backed by one of the You Tube founders, is the only one of the three which is building its own car, trying to be a genuine F1 team, just like the others. Manor is taking a car from Simtek, while Campos is taking a car from Dallara. Manor boss John Booth spoke recently about the uncertainty which still hangs over next year’s rules and I get the impression from other F1 teams that they think this project might struggle to get the funding, despite rumours of Virgin being interested in sponsoring them, which I can’t really see. Meanwhile Gianpaulo Dallara is quoted today as saying that they began work on the 2010 car three months ago and as for the collapse of the budget cap, “We are continuing as if nothing had happened,”

Like all of the F1 technical departments, Dallara gambled that the rules would be based on 2009, with no refuelling and he was proved right,
“We have worked on 2009 specification adding the extra fuel capacity required for 2010,” he said.

Campos is down to use the Cosworth engine, but as I posted here a couple of days ago, they will not be allowed to run at 20,000rpm, so it will be interesting to take a look at how they get that engine up to speed. Frank Williams, who used the engine in 2006, said recently that it was not even close to the package provided by the modern manufacturer engines, like the Toyota.

And speaking of engines, another little gem from Auto Motor und Sport says that Robert Kubica a contender for the season’s most miserable driver, has now chomped through five of his allocated eight engines for the year. He looks like making some unwanted history by being the first man to take a penalty for using a ninth engine. Apparently at Silverstone he lost two engines, one on Friday and then it’s replacement on Saturday. How he must look back on last season and his chance to fight for the title and wonder when that chance may come around again..

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Ferrari and FOTA president Luca di Montezemolo has gone on the media offensive in the past 24 hours, putting out some messages, not in response to FIA president Max Mosley’s complaints about FOTA’s behaviour, but stating his own case. He calls for an end to ‘polemics’ in F1.
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There is no hint of apology in his statements, nor a response to Mosley’s claims that the breakaway could still be on. There is only a clear reaffirmation of the principles on which FOTA negotiated the deal on Wednesday.

FOTA are very keen to show that they put the fans’ interests at the top of the agenda and so Montezemolo answered a range of questions from fans on the Ferrari website: “What I can guarantee you is that Ferrari and FOTA are busy to keep the spirit and the essence of F1 alive, constantly listening to our fans,” he said. “As far as the tracks are concerned where the races are held, the historical ones have always had a great fascination; for Ferrari and for all the other teams it will be important to get back to North America. “

“One of the main engagements of FOTA is to reduce costs to get to the level of the early 1990s in the next two years without losing the technological and sporting challenge of the highest level.”

Montezemolo also gave a global overview of the week’s achievements,
“First of all, I think that what we have obtained are three very important elements – stability, less costs – it means coming back to the level of the costs of the 1990s and also that F1, which is far more important, will remain F1 and does not become F3. This is crucial for us.

“Of course we have to improve everything and this is why we want to be more involved in the decisions of the sport, because we want more spectators in the circuits, tickets less expensive because today the tickets are too expensive, and to have more show.

“Maybe the possibility to have some teams or all the teams to run even a third car, to have more possibility to overtake – but increasing technology research, extreme performance and overall competition.”

“Now, stop with all the polemics, because we love F1. We don’t want to contribute to … take off the big charm and the unique elements of F1.”

The idea of a third car was mooted in Bologna on Wednesday and the name of Valentino Rossi was mentioned. Rossi said yesterday that he was interested in the proposal, when his contract with Yamaha is up at the of 2010.

Incidentally, I asked yesterday whether Ferrari still has the right of veto over rule changes and the answer is “yes”. The agreement is still in place. Ferrari had launched an arbitration in Lausanne to attempt to prove that the FIA had breached the agreement and so Ferrari were not bound by it. But now that the conditions have changed, they have stopped that arbitration and view the agreement as still being in place, which means they still have the veto right.

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Max Mosley has fired off another letter to the members of the FIA World motor sport council, in the wake of negative comments from FOTA members over the deal struck on Wednesday.
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Mosley wrote to FOTA president Luca di Montezemolo yesterday demanding an apology for the ‘misleading’ statements he and other FOTA team bosses had made. No apology was made at the FOTA press conference, however Montezemolo did write back to Mosley yesterday saying that he had read Mosley’s comments with amazement and pointed out how his observations had been misunderstood. Montezemolo went on to reaffirm respect for all the agreements made with the FIA.

If Mosley was unhappy with Montezemolo’s jibe about the sport not needing another ‘dictator’, he was incandescent with Toyota boss John Howett’s assertion that the FIA needed to elect someone ‘independent’ as the next FIA president. Howett meant someone with no previous links to an F1 team, in other words, not Jean Todt.

In today’s letter Mosley again encourages the FIA members to see the threat to the FIA’s standing and livelihood behind FOTA’s behaviour. To him, they want to take over.

“It is disappointing that Montezemolo did not keep his part of the bargain we made last Wednesday. I had anyway decided not to offer myself for re-election next October and, given what I have had to contend with during the last 12 months, I needed a peaceful summer before starting a more leisurely existence.

“The compromise we found was therefore acceptable to me personally and seemed in the overall interests of Formula 1. But when FOTA falsely claimed that they had ousted me and imposed their will on the FIA, the situation became intolerable. No doubt we face a difficult period. This may well result in short-term problems in Formula 1. It is possible that FOTA will set up an independent series. That is their right, provided they do so under the International Sporting Code.

“But the Formula 1 World Championship will continue to be run by the FIA as it has been for 60 years. The Championship has had difficult times in the past and no doubt will again in the future but that is no reason to hand control to an outside body, still less one with little or no understanding of sporting ethics and under the control of an industry we have constantly to monitor.

“Member clubs of the FIA from all over the world have made it clear that they will never allow the car industry to decide who may and who may not be president of the FIA,” he said.

“This has nothing to do with me as an individual, it is about the independence of the FIA and its member clubs as defenders of the motorist and arbiters of international motor sport.”

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There has been some suggestion that some of these FIA world council members might step into the limelght to have their say on the matter, presumably backing up what Mosley is saying.

Meanwhile there has been some speculation that this change of heart by Mosley may lead to the breakaway being back on, but I think we should be cautious before reaching that conclusion. Firstly I don’t detect that FOTA is too concerned with today’s developments; they are pressing ahead with shaping the 2010 rules and know that Mosley is leaving office in October. The agreement achieved on Wednesday has been voted through by the world council in any case. They see this as MM trying to create artificial tension, while arguing that the FIA needs a ‘strong’ president who is experienced in F1 – ie Jean Todt. I get the impression that not even Ferrari want him to be the president. But as Mosley points out, FOTA has no say in that vote.

We will see what exactly he means by ‘short-term problems’ in the coming weeks, I guess.

It appears that nothing has been signed yet, but the drivers which moved the situation forwards to the solution agreed on Wednesday are just as valid now as they were then. And they are largely commercial.

CVC has a big investment in Formula 1 and its options for making an exit are limited, but all roads would appear to lead to an IPO at some stage in the future. Wednesday’s agreement lays out a path for that and it’s hard to see a return to the uncertainty which threatened F1.

Renault boss Flavio Briatore touched on CVC’s role yesterday when he said of the contract with the commercial rights holder,

“It runs to 2012 but we would be interested in extending it. We need to increase the number of viewers and balance what the teams spend with what they take in. F1 should be a profit centre. Actors don’t pay to appear in films, spending more than they take in, like the Blues Brothers.”

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An anthem for F1 fans

Okay, this is a bit left field but I like a bit of variety on the site so here is something completely different.

In the old days, momentous events always used to be commemorated with poems and verse and it seems that the happenings of the last few weeks have inspired some of my readers to write poems. We’ve had several, but this one from Rudy Pyatt is actually pretty good so I thought, rather than let it sit in the comments section, it should get a more public airing.

It is not exactly a call to arms for F1 fans, but it has a certain Shakespearean quality about it and is certainly a call for the fans to be heard.

“Vanity, vanity.

Under the weight of these heavy manners, let the power fall.

An’ it fall, let it be to us, the fans.

Perhaps the ACO has the scope; maybe the ALMS knows best. Together, may they put things to the test someday soon, and for the rest of our lives, put us (the fans, that is to say) first. Let Them Answer All Our Queries! May they grant us (NOW) a New Series!

Unlike the others we see and have seen: Thrashing, scheming, screaming — nay, dreaming of, hungering — for only power in this infirm hour. That quest places them in a high tower. Too far away to see, unable to hear, the pleas from us — the fans.

Mayhap we (the fans) shall yet, with joy and song, receive welcome from new hosts at the Formula 1 feast, hosts with humility, and anxious, too, to please us, the fans.

Mayhap we shall help them hoist the banner (over the rubble and muddle of this present struggle, which has been overlong, should have been over long ago) of a New Championship, recognizing that this cannot go on, that what was wrong remains wrong, that no deal’s a deal until the deed is done. Deeds, not words, will end this battle, though the combatants prattle of peace. In our time? I think not.

A grand jest indeed, in word, and in deed — to think the problems all solved, when ego still holds sway in this play, the players upon the stage having played us, the fans, for fools.

Despite what we say,

Does the FIA care, anyway?
Will CVC, see?
Will FOTA advance, or retreat?

Mere tools have we been to them.

Tyrants and jesters all. Vanity, vanity.

Let the power fall. And let it fall to us, the fans.”

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Looks like FOTA may have got the tone wrong with their triumphalism over the deal agreed on Wednesday to avert a breakaway in Formula 1.

Max Mosley has reacted angrily to the tone of messages coming out of FOTA and about what he sees as misleading briefings to the media. Having cast his eye through the morning’s papers, some of which we reviewed here on JA on F1, he sent off an angry letter to FOTA prior to their meeting in Bologna,

“Given your and FOTA’s deliberate attempt to mislead the media, I now consider my options open. At least until October, I am president of the FIA with the full authority of that office.

“After that it is the FIA member clubs, not you or FOTA, who will decide on the future leadership of the FIA.”

Mosley is not saying that he’s changing his mind about standing again in October, but he is saying that FOTA should be careful and treat the FIA with the respect it claimed to have for it in closing the deal.

Mosley is furious with the tone of messages like Luca di Montezemolo’s jibe about no more ‘dictators’. He is also angry that FOTA representatives have claimed that FIA Senate president Michel Boeri is now in change of F1, rather than that the Senate itself, of which he is, and will remain, a part. He has also bridled at suggestions that he was forced out of office.

“We made a deal yesterday in Paris to end the recent difficulties in Formula 1. A fundamental part of this was that we would both present a positive and truthful account to the media.

“I was therefore astonished to learn that FOTA has been briefing the press that Mr Boeri has taken charge of Formula 1, something which you know is completely untrue; that I had been forced out of office, also false; and, apparently, that I would have no role in the FIA after October, something which is plain nonsense, if only because of the FIA statutes.

“Furthermore, you have suggested to the media that I was a ‘dictator’, an accusation which is grossly insulting to the 26 members of the World Motor Sport Council who have discussed and voted all the rules and procedures of Formula 1 since the 1980s, not to mention the representatives of the FIA’s 122 countries who have democratically endorsed everything I and my World Motor Sport Council colleagues have done during the last 18 years.”

Mosley makes it clear that he wants them to change their tone and be more respectful,
“You must correct the false statements which have been made and make no further such statements. You yourself must issue a suitable correction and apology at your press conference this afternoon.”

No such apology has been forthcoming so far.

It’s hard to imagine that the situation will return to what we had prior to Wednesday’s meeting, but Mosley’s pride has been hurt and FOTA know that.

There is no need to be provocative, they have what they wanted and Mosley is not staying on after October. But clearly they couldn’t resist it. In Italy in particular, Montezemolo is being painted as St George, who slayed the dragon.

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The FOTA teams met in Bologna today in triumphant mood to celebrate their success and look forward to shaping the F1 of the future.

They are following the principles set out in the ‘Road Map’ they announced back in March; looking to reduce the costs dramatically, support the independent teams with cheap manufacturer engines and work with FIA and FOM to improve the show.
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The main points to come out today are that the rules for next season will be the same as this year, except that there will be no refuelling and KERS will be banned. There may be some other detailed changes, perhaps to qualifying and there will be new rules about wind tunnel use and other cost-related aspects.

“We will keep the 2009 rules the same for everybody, ” said FOTA president Luca di Montezemolo. “This is extremely important. We will have stability in F1 at least until the end of 2012. It means no [extra] cost, because with stability you have no cost.

“We also have governance like in the previous years in which the rules come from clear procedure with the F1 Commission. And we will continue as teams, as car manufacturers, to work for important cost reductions as we have already done with success regarding engines and gearboxes.”

There will be only one set of rules for everyone and that means the the notion of running Cosworth engines at 20,000rpm to make them more competitive is out of the window. Yesterday’s deal is not good news for Cosworth and it remains to be seen whether the three new teams will go ahead with their supply deal. Cosworth said that they need three teams to make it pay, but I wonder whether Manor will review their decision to join F1 given that it is no longer capped at £40 million a year. I can see USFI and Campos going ahead. USF1 is keen on having a Toyota engine and Campos will not want to be left behind. The manufacturers are committed to supplying engines at €5 million and gearboxes at €1.5 million.

If all three new teams make it, then there will be eight teams requiring customer engines, which is good news for Ferrari, Toyota, Mercedes, Toyota and Renault.

Of course, David Richards and Prodrive among others, has missed out on an entry and today, his old colleage Nick Fry of Brawn GP spoke about the three new teams and said, “If one of those three weren’t able to get the funding to enter, there a possibility that others might be invited in.” This situation will be worth keeping an eye on.

I think we may see the return of a small amount of in season testing; this year has been a disaster for many teams, having no time to test parts and I think the teams realise that they are missing good opportunities to engage with the fans by not holding two or three “marquee tests’ where fans can get close to the action without spending lots of money and sponsors can invite more guests. Tests like Barcelona in April, Silverstone (or Donington) in June and Monza in late August may well return.

I also think we may see their points system adopted next season with 12 points for a win and so on. From the feedback we got at the time here on JA on F1, that seemed to play well with the fans.

FOTA appealed strongly to the fans today. They monitored the fans’ reaction in recent weeks as the crisis escalated and realised that they had a strong swell of opinion on their side. I was told that Silverstone played its part too as it was significant that such a well attended race with such passionate fans preceded the world council meeting to make everyone realise what they were potentially giving up. If Turkey had preceded the meeting the effect would have been quite different.

The banning of KERS will not be received with great sadness by most people. Ironically Ferrari and McLaren are giving quite a bit away by agreeing to dump it because they have very good systems. But all is not lost, because as I said after my Mercedes visit last week, the new F1 engine post 2013 is likely to be based around a KERS type regeneration system and so everything that they have learned will stand them in good stead. This was the wrong moment in the economic cycle to introduce a complex and expensive technology like KERS and it’s lack of take up this year has been embarrassing.

Williams and Force India are likely to be readmitted to FOTA, but they are not currently part of the ongoing discussions and framing of the rules. “Obviously we would expect them to ask to come back in… which they haven’t done so far,” Fry said today. I’ve heard some negative views on Williams’ stance and contrasts with the way Brawn played its cards, but I think the FOTA teams want to move on.

It is emerging that what swung everything around yesterday was a combination of significant commercial pressure on Max Mosley from Ecclestone and his partners CVC as well as the resolution of FOTA to go ahead with a breakaway. Mosley had little alternative but to strike a deal because he did not have much of an entry list to take to the world council.

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News Digest by Lawrence Barretto

It’s been 24 hours since yesterday’s landmark decision which saw all the FOTA teams agreeing in principle to the Concorde Agreement and ditching plans to leave the series. Now the debate has moved onto whether FIA President Max Mosley jumped or was pushed.

While Mosley declared that he had always intended to step down as FIA President at the end of his term this October, it appears the media have seen it somewhat differently.

“Mr Mosley had gone to Paris talking tough and making it clear that he might continue bossing one of the world’s richest sports for another four years,” wrote the Times. “By mid-morning his 16-year reign was over and though he remains in office, he is without power.”

The Independent, meanwhile, wrote “Mosley had fallen on his sword, in a classic revolt of the ruled against their ruler. He has successfully hard-balled leading teams in previous disputes, emerging as victor in a series of turf wars, but the prospect of a rival series, which would leave a rump Formula One made up of only two current teams and assorted novices, proved too damaging to concede.”

The move was labelled as a ‘victory for the F1 rebels’ by the Mirror who went on to say Mosley’s time was finally up. “Mosley’s cost-cap proposals, plus his vicious politicking and name calling, branding team bosses “loonies”, proved a step too far for even his staunchest allies.” However they were keen to point that Mosley wasn’t all bad. “Although few in the sport’s upper tiers will mourn his demise now they may soon miss the content of his management, if not its style.”

Along with The Times, The Guardian highlighted Bernie Ecclestone’s role as peacemaker in brokering the deal as he sought to protect his business. “Ecclestone had more to lose than most,” wrote The Guardian. “It is certain that the sport’s commercial rights holder had come under extreme pressure from his partner, CVC, as the capital venture company, with no interest in Formula One other than making money, became alarmed by the serious intent shown by FOTA.”

However, as the Economist points out, in pushing through the deal to save the sport, Ecclestone sacrificed Mosley. “Mr Ecclestone seems to have deserted his old friend after FOTA won the backing of the ultimate authority in F1, the private-equity firm CVC Capital, which bought control of Mr Ecclestone’s sports-rights company a few years ago,” said the Economist. “Its bankers had been worrying that the sport it had bought might fall apart. In the end, it was Sir Max and Mr Ecclestone’s authority that collapsed.”

Ecclestone, though, defended his move and his friend saying “In fairness to Max he wanted to leave last year and I asked him not to go until things were sorted out. Let’s make one thing clear, absolutely no one could have forced Max to go if he had decided to stand for re-election.

“People forget he achieved a lot in his time. They forget the positive and concentrate on the negative.

“We’ve been friends for 40 years. He understood the sport and we knew how to do things together. When he needed support I supported him and vice versa.”

Whatever the reasoning for Mosley departing, the situation has now been resolved and we can finally get back to talking about the action on the track. The New York Times sums it up nicely – “Peace has been declared in Formula One… thank goodness we do not have two watered down championships next year instead of one strong one.”

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Speaking to the Italian media after today’s breakthrough agreement, FOTA and Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo took quite a strong line on the man sitting on the opposite side of the negotiating table from him these last few months,

“The satisfaction is that all of our requests have been accepted, ” said Montezemolo. “To us three things were most important; that F1 stay F1 and not become F3, that there is no dictator, but that there was a choice of rules, agreed and not imposed; and that whoever had a team was consulted and had a voice. Mosley has announced that in October he will stand down, with an irrevocable decision, and that from now on he won’t get involved in F1.

“Now finally we have stability of the regulations until 2013. I want to thank all our fans, because the public had had enough of these changes. Let’s hope that next year, with the rules finally stabilised, we will see also a winning Ferrari. Could Mosley change his mind? He can, yes, but we won’t. What has been fundamental is the unity of the teams, of the manufacturers. Ecclestone said that he fed FOTA’s cards to his dogs, Mosley said that he didn’t know what FOTA was, today it seems to me that both of them have something different to say.”

In other words, “Its FOTA, not Schmota”.

Meanwhile Mosley has put his side of the story this afternoon,

“They (the teams) have got the rules they want and the stability, we’ve got the new teams in and we’ve got the cost reduction – that’s very helpful. There is no budget cap because costs will come down to the levels of the early 1990s in two years – it’s a different way of doing the same thing. I always thought there wasn’t much between us; now we’ve agreed there isn’t.

“My departure was planned, agreed, arranged. As far as I’m concerned, the teams were always going to get rid of me in October; well, they still are. All the staff have known for months, but obviously I couldn’t say it publicly because the moment you do you lose all your influence. Now I don’t need influence, it’s a satisfactory situation. I can have a peaceful summer for the first time in three years. Whether the person who succeeds me will be more to their liking remains to be seen…”

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The FIA has issued the entry list for next season’s F1 world championship and it features all of the existing teams and the three new ones who entered last week.

Montezemolo: Played a strong hand

Montezemolo: Played a strong hand

Meanwhile more details of the deal which saved F1, brokered by Luca di Montezemolo, Max Mosley and Bernie Ecclestone, are staring to emerge. The crucial points are that the rules for next year will be the same as 2009, costs will be brought right down, but there will be no budget cap and the teams and manufacturers have committed to the sport until at least 2012.

The FIA emerges from the episode with its authority intact and a more sensible attitude from the teams to spending, FOTA emerges as a strong body which achieved a lot through staying united and Bernie Ecclestone and his partners, CVC, know that the cashflows will continue for at least another three years.

The rules may be as in 2009, but this is really only a starting point. The devil will be in the detail; will they go ahead with the ban on refuelling, for example? Will there be KERS? There is still more work to be done on this and FOTA meets tomorrow at noon, to move forward on finalising things in conjunction with the FIA.

There will be no budget cap, instead teams will act together to drastically reduce costs, down to a level of around £40m million in two years time. They will provide some ‘technical assistance’ to the new teams, although as all three of them are signed up to Cosworth, cut price engines will not be part of that. It will be interesting to see whether all three of the new teams are still using Cosworths when next season starts. Asking the teams what this ‘technical assistance’ consists of, the answer is rather vague at the moment.

The teams and manufacturers have agreed to commit to 2012, but the deals with the FIA and FOM are different. This is a key point for FOTA. The FIA deal is open ended, recognising the FIA’s right to be the regulator of the sport, but now with the F1 commission in place to decide on future rules, which was not the case recently. With regard to FOM, the teams are signed up until 2012, presumably on the same commercial terms, but they have separated their dealings with FOM from their dealings with the FIA. There is no detail about whether Brawn will get the money it feels it is owed by FOM for Honda’s past prize fund.

Max Mosley will not seek re-election in October when his current term expires. In the meantime he has relinquished his position as the main contact man at the FIA for F1. Instead the FIA Senate will deal with any issues in F1. Mosley is a member of the Senate and, under FIA rules, he will remain a member in future as an ex president. There is a sense here that if this deal were to fall through then Mosley would be on hand to take up the FIA’s side again. Meanwhile there will be an election for a new FIA president in due course.

The deal was hammered out in a two hour meeting between Luca di Montezemolo of FOTA/Ferrari, Bernie Ecclestone and Max Mosley. The meeting took place in the FIA building and the three then went across to the world council meeting room to get everything ratified. The three men broke out of the WMSC meeting part way through to finalise a few details and then returned to report their agreement.

Both sides have achieved much of what he wanted, by pushing the teams over the brink, Mosley has got new teams into the sport, forced the manufacturers to commit and got them and the teams to wake up and smell the coffee when it comes to budgets.

So what provided the breakthrough? Well on the FIA’s side it was FOTA’s acknowledgement of the FIA’s authority, their right to govern and regulate F1. On FOTA’s side it was Mosley’s agreement not to stand again and the return of the F1 commission for setting new rules.

FOTA has achieved a lot and will no doubt continue as the body which represents the teams and manufacturers in dealings with the FIA and FOM in future. I imagine that Williams and Force India will be readmitted to FOTA, having sat on the sidelines throughout this most recent process.

Leaving their respective methods to one side, to me this episode shows that Mosley has always been a long term thinker, whereas the teams are more short term. It has been painful and it’s not completely over yet, but F1 should emerge stronger.

2010 F1 ENTRY LIST
SCUDERIA FERRARI MARLBORO FERRARI
VODAFONE McLAREN MERCEDES McLAREN MERCEDES
BMW SAUBER F1 TEAM BMW SAUBER
RENAULT F1 TEAM RENAULT
PANASONIC TOYOTA RACING TOYOTA
SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO STR TBA
RED BULL RACING RBR TBA
AT&T WILLIAMS WILLIAMS TOYOTA
FORCE INDIA F1 TEAM FORCE INDIA MERCEDES
BRAWN GP FORMULA ONE TEAM BRAWN TBA
CAMPOS META TEAM CAMPOS COSWORTH
MANOR GRAND PRIX MANOR COSWORTH
TEAM US F1 TEAM US F1 COSWORTH

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