Formula 1's world governing body the FIA has released the list of teams that have been accepted to enter the Formula 1 World Championship next year. It was eagerly awaited for by everyone, because the recent stand-off between the FIA and the Formula One Teams' Association (FOTA) regarding the budget cap row and the crisis regarding the sport's governance, meant that the eight FOTA teams submitted conditional entries for next year. Had their entries not been accepted, the Formula 1 grid next year would have only seen two of the current teams taking part, Williams and Force-India both of whom submitted unconditional entries.
As it stands now, that will not be the case. According to the FIA statement released earlier this morning, all of the current teams in Formula 1 have been accepted to enter next year and on top of them three new teams - namely Campos Grand Prix, Manor Grand Prix and US F1 - will be making their debut next season, as the FIA had raised the maximum number of cars allowed on the grid from the current 20 to 26 for next season. But the FIA also states that among the eight FOTA teams, the entries of five teams - namely Vodafone McLaren-Mercedes, BrawnGP, ING Renault F1, Panasonic Toyota Racing and BMW Sauber F1 - remain provisional and will only be made valid if the teams enter unconditionally for next year. Although the other three FOTA teams which include Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro, Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Toro Rosso submitted conditional entries as well along with the rest of the FOTA, the FIA said that these three teams are legally obliged to race in Formula 1 until at least 2012 due to an agreement they signed with the FIA and Formula One Management (FOM, the commercial rights holder) back in 2007.
However, all three of these teams, shortly after the FIA press release, have been quick in reiterating their commitment to FOTA and confirming that they will not be taking part next year unless the conditions that were originally attached to their applications are met. The FIA have given the teams until the 19th of June to continue further negotiations and come to a solution with the governing body. Meanwhile, FOTA has written to the World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) to intervene in the row between FOTA and the FIA, to try and bring a solution to this long running political saga and ensure the future stability of the sport. It is worth mentioning here that the President of the FIA, Max Mosley, had a meeting with the FOTA members yesterday in London to try and bring a last minute solution on the table. That meeting however, ended inconclusively.
The FIA has also stated that it will be in discussions with some of the other new teams that lodged applications to enter Formula 1 next year but are not on the provisional list, should the row with the FOTA fall out leading to the eight current teams withdrawing from the sport. Meanwhile, the three new successful entrants have all said that they will be using Cosworth standard specification customer engines for their cars.
So FOTA has been prompt in reacting to the publication of the 2010 entrants' list, and it will be interesting to see now what their next move is. The good thing is FOTA remains strong and united, and have so far defied all moves by Max Mosley to divide the teams. Will everything be resolved and back to normal in Formula 1 next year, or will the eight FOTA teams actually breakaway and form their own championship? We will find that out within the next few days. Until then, drive safely everyone!