At a meeting of FOTA teams in London today it was decided to suspend the membership of the Williams team, after they broke ranks and submitted an entry to the 2010 world championship.
“Fota’s decision, although regrettable, is understandable,” said team boss Frank Williams. “As a company whose only business is F1 with obligations to our partners and employees entering was unquestionable. In addition we are legally obliged under our contract with FOM and the FIA to participate in the world championship until the end of 2012.”
Williams acknowledged that the suspension of the team is temporary, pending ongoing negotiations with the FIA over the rules for next season. FOTA had no choice really and although their discussions concern the longer term issues which will also concern Williams, it is a sign of the irritation of the other teams that one of their number has been picked off, thus breaking the ‘all for one and one for all’ spirit which has made FOTA a force in F1 politics since its foundation last September.
It remains to be seen whether any of the other teams who signed up to a similar deal to Williams in 2005 feel that they are legally obliged to submit an entry by Friday’s deadline, particularly Force India.
The Williams team has been one of the staunchest supporters of the idea of the budget cap and believes that the proposed £40 million level is about right.
Meanwhile talks continue.