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GP Week : Issue 46
As it has now emerged, the reason that Ferrari broke away from the GPWC and sided with the FIA and Bernie Ecclestone was a huge cash incentive from Ecclestone to remain in Formula 1, and a power of veto on any regulation changes that the FIA suggested that Ferrari did not agree with. Ferrari now argues that the 2010 regulation changes have been made against their wishes and thus go against their power of veto. This has naturally forced all the F1 teams to ask themselves one very big question. If Ferrari has always had a power of veto and has therefore pretty much been deciding which regulations govern F1 for the last five years, haven’t we been racing under a two- tier system all of this time? Incredibly, despite the potential for a split in the unity of the manufacturers, it is this veto which may yet save Formula 1. Ferrari has launched legal proceedings against 3 the FIA through the French courts for the manner in which the 2010 regulations were formed. If the French courts find in Ferrari’s favour, the 2010 regulation changes will have to be annulled. Is there a threat of division within FOTA? The threat of division within FOTA, interestingly, does not seem to be appearing from the basis of Ferrari’s special relationship with the FIA over the years. Instead, a division is starting to show between the manufacturers and independent teams. The likes of Brawn, Williams and Force India could all feasibly run under a budget cap in 2010 and be competitive. Their seven rivals argue that they cannot cut their budgets to the £40 million level in time, and will therefore not be able to be competitive. BMW has gone silent, while McLaren whose Mercedes board is believed to agree in principal with the concept of pulling out of F1, has to watch its back as it is under a 12 month suspended sentence from the FIA for the lie-gate scandal. Could there be two championships in 2010? It is not out of the realms of possibility. If the budget cap remains in place, and with it a two-tier system of technical regulations, then Ferrari and their allies’ threat to pull out of Formula 1 remains. That would essentially leave us with Brawn, Williams and Force India, plus the expected entries of Prodrive, Lola and USF1. Add into the mix the potential GP2 entries of iSport and ART plus Litespeed and, let’s say, Addax and you have a ten-team Formula 1, with all teams falling under the budget cap. The breakaway championship, let’s call it the GPWC again for old time’s sake, would consist of Ferrari, Mercedes, BMW, Renault, Toyota and Red Bull running three cars to their own rules, on their own tracks and in