Monday, 1 June 2009

Budget cap crisis seems to be far from over, while former driver Alex Wurz hints a return to F1 as team boss

After all 9 of the current FOTA members submitted a joint but conditional entry for the 2010 Formula 1 World Championship last Friday the 29th of May 2009, everyone thought that the budget cap crisis is coming to a compromising solution from both parties involved. Although now it seems that this crisis is far from over. When I say 9 FOTA members, I am leaving out Williams who were suspended from FOTA early last week when they became the first of the current teams to enter next year's championship, breaking ranks with the rest of the FOTA members.

The big news on Friday was that after all the threats and political posturing, all of the current teams have submitted entries for next year's championship. The only problem was that the 9 FOTA teams submitted some conditions with their entries, which I have already talked about in my last post here. Later on, Ferrari's team principal Stefano Domenicalli clarified their position by saying that if the FIA does not agree to those conditions, the joint entry submitted by all of the 9 FOTA members will be invalidated. In that scenario, Williams will be the only one of the current teams to be taking part in next year's championship. What was not clear on Friday was Ferrari and the others' stance on the budget cap as they seemed to have agreed on a provisional £85 million cap for next year, to be followed by a £40 million cap for 2011. But Mr. Domenicalli has said that the FOTA is not willing to accept any kind of fixed budget caps as they believe that the teams should have the freedom of regulating their own costs, which is backed up by the fact that many of the cost reductions seen this year have been first proposed by the teams and that they have made proposals of even further cost reductions to be made over the next couple of years. Because of that, the FOTA believes that there is no need for a budget cap. Instead the FIA and the FOTA working together to implement several of FOTA's cost reduction proposals will not just ensure stability in the sport, but will also ensure that Formula 1 remains as the pinnacle of world motosport. Mr. Domenicalli said that if the FIA does not agree to their conditions, none of the FOTA teams will be taking part in Formula 1 next year but instead could possibly be looking at other alternatives.

FOTA set the FIA a deadling of the 12th of June, because that is the day that the FIA is supposed to announce the teams taking part in the 2010 Formula 1 World Championship. So that is also the date when we will all find out whether the sport's governing body have caved in to FOTA's demands, or have stood firm on their own ground and in the process causing all but one of the current teams to leave the sport. So that dateline of the 12th of June 2009 could potentially be the day when the FIA wreaks havoc in the world of Formula 1, or brings an end to a political saga that have been damaging the sport in every corner.

Among other news, former Formula 1 driver Alex Wurz, who last raced for Williams in 2007, has confirmed that he intends to return to Formula 1 as team boss of new Austrian outfit Team Superfund, backed by Austrian businessman Christian Baha. Wurz said that Team Superfund has submitted an entry to the FIA for the 2010 World Championship, and plans to use Cosworth customer engines. Team Superfund joins the line of small and new teams such as Prodrive, Lola, Campos Meta Racing, Litespeed GP and USGP Engineering, all or most of whom have been induced by FIA President Max Mosley's controversial and unreasonably low budget cap proposal. But looking back at these new teams, does anyone honestly want to see all these unknown names racing against each other in what is supposedly the ultimate form of motorsport in the world? Or do we want to see the likes of Ferrari, Renault, McLaren, BMW, Toyota and others pushing the technological limits of an open-wheeled racing car and the world's best drivers fighting it out on the track to deliver some truly awesome racing?

So while we head towards Turkey for yet another exciting Grand Prix weekend, all these issues are going to be on everyone's minds as Formula 1 has never been in a more uncertain and unstable situation. Hopefully though, the FIA and specially it's President Max Mosley will come to his senses and realise that it is the teams who should have the greater say in the sport, and that all their proposals are not only reasonable but also ensure the future stability of the sport without watering down the true essence of pure Formula 1 racing. Until next time though, drive safely everyone!

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