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GP Week : Issue 46
>>F1 INSIGHT Back to the future: Max Mosley and Bernie Ecclestone, pictured left in 1977, have done this before, when FOCA took on FISA and Jean Marie Balestre in the early 1980s, above. President of the United States, stated in 1787 “the accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive and judiciary, in the same hands… may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.” This is, therefore, a perfect opportunity for change. As Flavio Briatore stated to the Italian press last week: “The teams are F1 and the international federation should simply be the referee, the rules should be written by us, they can’t be imposed by Max without him speaking to anyone. That’s an unacceptable way to work”. When the FIA opted to change the regulations for Formula 1 in 2010 to initiate a budget cap and the two-tier system of technical regulations, the governing body took its power one step too far in the eyes of its citizens. While everybody in Formula 1 recognises the need to cut costs, an imposed cut of, in some cases, 90% of a team’s annual expenditure was unthinkable. Never mind the simple factor of racing competitiveness, it was the human element to this cap that was hard to swallow, for huge redundancies would have to be made across the board. For those teams who did not fall under the budget cap, the difference in technical regulations would mean anywhere from a two to a three second per lap disadvantage. What would be the point in taking part in such a championship? If the purpose of racing is to compete, how could that be done under the 2010 system? There remained only one avenue. Pull out of the sport. Is the threat serious? You bet it is serious. First Toyota, then Ferrari, the Red Bull teams and Renault have all stated publically that unless the 2010 regulations are altered they will pull out of Formula 1. Would BMW and Mercedes follow them? There seems little doubt that they would. Formula 1 without Ferrari is a prospect that has got everyone in the sport, including its law makers, worried. As Bernie Ecclestone has stated time and again in recent days, Ferrari is Formula 1. Wherever Ferrari goes, the other manufacturers will follow. The Italian team remains the biggest draw in Formula racing. This is not just an empty threat, for this is not a throw-away problem. It has been over 25 years since a breakaway championship existed, but it has been less than a decade since one was mooted. The Grand Prix Manufacturers’Association threatened to walk away from Formula 1 if the sport was not run in the manner they wished. In the mid 2000s it lacked one crucial element however and that was the support of Ferrari. The importance of Ferrari The GPMA had been preceded by the threat from all the manufacturers, including Ferrari, to form the Grand Prix World Championship. Ferrari, however, found an agreement with the power-brokers in F1 and split from the threat in 2005, leading to the formation of the GPMA by the remaining members. 1