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GP Week : Issue 46
F1 stalemate as time run But Ecclestone suggests therewon’t be a two-tier F1 WITH just 11 days until the FIA’s self-imposed deadline for entries to the 2010 Formula 1 World Championship, there appears to be no softening in position between the Formula One Teams’Association and the FIA in their disagreement over next year’s regulations. The teams have been at loggerheads with the FIA over the introduction of a voluntary budget cap for the 2010 season, under which teams would be afforded technical allowances that those who do not fall under the budget cap will not. These performance differentials, such as unlimited engine RPM and double the power in KERS units, could lead to budget capped teams gaining upwards of two seconds per lap on non- capped teams. The last seven days has seen Toyota, Ferrari, Red Bull, Toro Rosso and Renault all threaten to pull out of Formula 1 by refusing to enter their teams for the 2010 championship. With BMW and Mercedes thought to agree in principal with their fellow FOTA members, the threat of a division in Formula 1 appears to be very real. The teams met at a Heathrow Airport hotel last Friday to discuss the situation, before meeting FIA President Max Mosley and Formula 1 Commercial Rights Holder Bernie Ecclestone that afternoon for crunch negotiations over the future of the sport. These discussions, however, hit an impasse when it became apparent that Ferrari had launched legal proceedings against the FIA, as it was disclosed that Ferrari has, for some time, held a secret power of veto over regulation changes which had been ignored by the FIA in its 2010 rule-making. Following the breakdown in negotiations, Bernie Ecclestone insisted that, as he understands it, one agreement that was made during the meeting was that the two-tier system would be scrapped: “I think the most important thing that upset everybody, they didn’t like, was this two-tier technical system, so I think it has been agreed that we shouldn’t have that. “We should have just one set of regulations,”he told the BBC. “I think everybody is more or less happy with the budget cap. Just how much. They’ll go with it higher [than £40 million], maybe it’ll be lower. It’s a case of just sorting it out.” Getting rid of the two-tier system however raises questions as to how new teams could be competitive and thus the entire issue of the point of a budget cap is brought back into question. The teams will meet again this week in Monaco as they attempt to find a solution with which they are happy for the 2010 regulations. Whether these will be accepted by the FIA is another question as the governing body attempts to balance the need to reduce costs with the need to keep the sport in one piece. New front-runners expect old guard to come out fighting for Euro swing See News Analysis Feature on the F1 Civil War – Page 28