Stalemate: Ferrari taking FIA to court but who is in the right? (Poll)

The FIA is being taken to court by Ferrari over the 2010 rules

The FIA is being taken to court by Ferrari over the 2010 rules

Today’s meeting between the F1 teams representatives, the FIA and Bernie Ecclestone failed to resolve the row over the 2010 regulations.

Two hours into the meeting Max Mosley received a text message from his lawyer informing him that Ferrari were beginning legal action in France to block the new rules. The proceedings came to a halt. The case will be heard on Tuesday next week and already Mosley is vowing to appeal if Ferrari win their case.

Both sides are engaged in brinkmanship. Ferrari’s resort to legal action is its response to Mosley’s demand that entries for the championship be received within two weeks – and that current teams who do not enter may lose their place. Toyota has said it is backing Ferrari in the action.

With this, the row has moved beyond the immediate need to sort the regulations out for next year, and onto the question of how F1 is governed. The recent history of F1 is littered with bitter disputes over the regulations. Whenever one agreement is reached a fresh argument springs up within weeks.

If it takes a messy legal row to halt the destructive cycle of bitter wrangling over the rules then perhaps F1 can emerge from this looking stronger. But at the moment it’s difficult to be optimistic.

Who do you think has F1’s best interests at heart? Are Ferrari misguidedly endeavouring to protect the teams’ right to spend themselves out of the sport? Or are they correctly to go to court against a governing body that imposes rule changes arbitrarily and without consultation?

Or is this just a clash of egos in which the sport is ultimately the loser?

Who do you most support in the rules row?

  • Ferrari and the other teams (79%)
  • Max Mosley and the FIA (9%)
  • Neither (12%)

Total Voters: 1,459

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110 comments on Stalemate: Ferrari taking FIA to court but who is in the right? (Poll)

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  1. I voted neither. The FIA should respect the wishes of the teams, because they are Formula One, carry the history and deliver every other week. However, FOTA should respect the FIA as the governing body, and its view on lowering budgets and getting new teams in. If either party remains as stubbern as they now appear, Formula One will fall apart. Power play needs to stop.

    • Spud said on 15th May 2009, 22:02

      I voted neither too.

      They will have to strike some sort of deal soon.

      Actually now I’m starting to get a bit concerned that F1 might just disappear….

      Now we have the situation where those new races, (India, South Korea, Rome, etc…) possibly might never see an F1 race.

      I hope it doesn’t come to that.

      This power struggle needs to stop.

      The budget cap needs to be done but it has to be brought in over a period of time.

      As Jake says below, too many jobs would be lost far too quickly by going down that road, and this isn’t the time to be doing that.

      Has Max thought of the consequences of hundreds of jobs being lost?? There is far, far too many jobs being lost at the moment!!

    • S Hughes said on 15th May 2009, 22:49

      You two should have voted for the teams because they do recognise that spending needs to decrease, but in an agreed fashion and not in a 2 tier way. The teams ARE being reasonable. Shame you voted as you did because I think if you knew all the facts, you would have voted against Max and FIA.

    • Macca said on 16th May 2009, 7:58

      My thoughts exactly S Hughes. The teams are not against budget capping, thay are against a two tier catagorie. There approch to this debarcle is spot, either everyone is the same or noone is there to race.

      Good on you F1 teams.

  2. Rob said on 15th May 2009, 21:18

    The sport doesn’t need Ferrari. Who misses two red cars that fail to finish/run out of fuel?

    There’s far too much money in this sport, £40m is A MASSIVE amount of money, I applaud the efforts of the FIA to bring all the spending under control.

    If Ferrari can’t go motor racing for £40m there’s serious management problems.

    • David A said on 16th May 2009, 2:07

      Err, yes the sport does need Ferrari? You’re acting like Ferrari aren’t the most successful and famous team in the history of the sport.

      It is far better to cut costs in the agreed ways that have been implemented rather than force a strict budget down the team’s throats.

    • Giuseppe said on 16th May 2009, 3:59

      £40 million is nothing. How many people in GB have that sitting in the bank? If they wanted to, F1 could have 500 new applications just from GB alone.

      F1 should be more prestigious than this. Its all about the image, otherwise youre worth nothing. i.e GP2

    • Arun...india said on 16th May 2009, 17:32

      Even if people are not a ferrari fan.If ferrari are not there then which team would these people hate.It was like how the micheal haters felt once he left f1.They didn’t know whom to end and hence didn’t know whom to support.

    • Sasquatsch said on 18th May 2009, 9:15

      @David A.

      Ferrari is the most successful only because of the 60 years. McLaren and Williams are more successful if you also look at the number of years in the sport.

      And going back in history, do you remember Lotus and Brabham, two successful teams of the 60’s 70’s and 80’s. Who misses them now?

  3. Jake said on 15th May 2009, 21:37

    Rob, because you know how to run a formula 1 team?!
    Ferrari, toyota etc can’t get down to the 40 million because they are currently spending 500 million. How many jobs do you think that would result in loosing in one big blow. They need to stagger it, they can’t make a huge jump from 500million to paying 8% of that the next year.

    I voted teams as they know where they stand in getting down to the 40 million cap and can compromise and eventually over some years reach the goal.

  4. Robert McKay said on 15th May 2009, 21:42

    It depends on what you percieve as “right”.

    If you believe the stories Ferrari were offered a clause that allows them to veto any particular technical rule changes (along with a lot of money), in order to break them from the other teams last time and sign them up to the championship again. No matter on the right or wrongs of how this situation could come to pass that one team could have such influence in the rule making that the others don’t, if true then in essence the FIA are in the wrong if this clause exists and they’ve went over Ferrari’s heads. Thus Ferrari are right to in effect enforce their contract.

    However if you mean in the sense that are the FIA right to push through new rules through – regardless of what the teams (who never like new rules anyway, especially ones they didn’t suggest) feel about it, then that’s a separate issue.

    Both are complex problems. Both have areas of considerable grey.

    It seems apparent that its not really the rules that are in question so much now, as the process of who decides them and how they are implemented. Should the teams make the rules and simply have the FIA as the ref? Or do you need a completely independent body (ignoring the fact Ferrari apparently thus legally have a say in the matter) to make the rules in order to stop chaos? Is there some sort of middle ground that has to be found?

    There’s probably a dissertation in there somewhere, but really all most folk care about is the upcoming Monaco Grand Prix and stuff the internecine politics.

  5. donwatters said on 15th May 2009, 21:54

    I’m in total support of the teams. As has been said before, they ARE the sport. Although important, Max and Bernie are just support staff. But the reality is this: There’s a long way to go…and a short time to get there (props to the late Jerry Reed). Should be a most interesting couple of weeks.

  6. HounslowBusGarage said on 15th May 2009, 22:03

    Nice reasoning, Robert.

  7. Matt said on 15th May 2009, 22:05

    A budget cut is necessary, the sport will die if the large teams continue to spend – but not seperate rules, this will also destroy the sport and make it harder for new people to get into it.

    F1 really needs CVC to walk away, Bernie and Max to retire and a new, dynamic team of individuals to run it.

  8. CRM said on 15th May 2009, 22:06

    I think that most people agree with the idea of a budget cap (so long as it brings technical freedom at the same time). However, Max’s way of implementing it has been a disgrace. He could have got his way if he had been less extreme – for example a £140m cap in 2010 which was reduced by £20m a season.

    But instead he sets it at £40m, brings it in next season, gives the capped teams ridiculous advantages (effectivley making the cap compulsory) and causes this huge argument with the teams which could see F1 eith break up or lose some of its biggest and most famous teams.

    Max needs to go (or at the very, very least back down from the £40m cap) before irreversible damage is done to F1 over this issue.

    • jason said on 17th May 2009, 23:03

      Right on the button! This is max and bernie needlessly forcing the issue. Engines lasting longer, Transmissions are starting next year. There are countless ways to implement spending cuts without being a dick about it! This is a sign that max needs togo. If money cutbacks are such an issue, is bernie going to reduce his fee (30 mil I believe)? I would like to see factory ferrari at Lemans though.

  9. Jess said on 15th May 2009, 22:09

    I find it funny and sad that the “greatest motor sport in the world” is also the only one that I have seen in my 6 years of watching racing that has courts and appeals and all this political BS. Go to any sight other site other than f1.com and click on f1 and what to you see this stuff. There is more news on F1 and its power fight than on the drivers and teams and what they are doing on off time or preping or heck anything. I have been watching F1 for only a few years (05) but is this how it is every year? This stuff takes the fun out of the racing. My 2 cents

    • David A said on 16th May 2009, 2:13

      Well said jess, all this rubbish that goes on really does my head in and alienates fans.

  10. Fer no.65 said on 15th May 2009, 22:11

    i think the point Ferrari is making is valid

    if the rules are still to be fully decided, why they have to agree to take part of a series they don’t know how it will end up like?

    i mean, research and development of cars and their technology has to be started pretty much soon… if they decide to enter a series which has no clear rules yet, they might put themselve into problems they didn’t wanted to take into account…

    i don’t see why i have to step into a tennis court, already payed the ticket, and suddenly realizing they decided to put Tommy Robredo against Mardy Fish instead of the Federer-Nadal i was supposed to watch…

    it’s not fair, it’s not clear and above all, the money the manufacturers spend isn’t that tiny to be playing that much…

  11. sasbus said on 15th May 2009, 22:15

    Just checked how much British Football teams spend before they even start the championship. The big boys spend on average £40 Million.

    Well what Mosley wants is to downgrade F1. Should it be allowed? If we really like what F1 is all about – the ultimate in Motorsport – then what Max did should be undone; otherwise I’m afraid we would lose.

    I hate seeing comments directed at Ferrari – out of spite. In truth no team has persisted in F1 more than they did. For F1 to lose Ferrari = great loss.

    Obviously to the Ferrari fans I will only say. If Ferrari moves to Le Mans then we will switch from F1 to Le Mans.

  12. sean said on 15th May 2009, 22:22

    Why will the sport die if the big teams keep spending 2007&2008 were brilliant season’s both coming down to the last race to decide the championship.It only get’s boring when one team dominates and is perceived to have an unfair advantage over the other team’s.Oh yeah that’s this season.

  13. persempre said on 15th May 2009, 22:25

    I`ve heard that Force India spent GBP80m last season. That gives an idea of the quality the new regs will encourage.

    All new regs are supposed to be given the all clear by the Formula One Commission, I hear.
    I`m guessing, although I could be wrong, that at the time Ferrari signed their extension to the CA (Jan 2005) they had the foresight to see that this veto was necessary as no other team had signed &, therefore, there may be trouble forming a Commission.
    As it is I don`t think the Commission has sat in ages. Do you know the last date, Keith?

    Whatever the reason, if the veto stops the FIA from arbitarily enforcing ever-changing rules then I`m very pleased that veto exists.

    I voted with the teams.

  14. tEQUILLA sLAMMER said on 15th May 2009, 22:40

    …well…i opted not to vote on this poll but i did view the result so far!…:0…no surprise there then! it seems m&b are in for some opposition yetagain! oh dear…yet ifind myself stillmysteriously happyat 49!:)

  15. Moyletra said on 15th May 2009, 22:42

    Why should Ferrari have a technical veto. In fact, if anything it throws into perspective the quality of their Constructor’s championships and Schumacher’s driver’s titles. Williams front tyres, Renault mass dampers, Ferrari barge boards in 1999.

    F1 does not exist solely for Ferrari’s benefit. manufacturer participation always has been transitory and dependent on marketing budget – Honda, Ford/Jaguar, Renault, BMW, Porsche have all dipped in and out.

    As long as the rules give me close competitive racing it doesn’t matter at all.

  16. S Hughes said on 15th May 2009, 22:47

    Come on, Max Mosley, your time is UP! Just get out of the sport you are killing. How can anyone be reasonable with this deluded old *******? The word starts with p and ends in t! Of course spending needs to decrease, but in a gradual way agreed by all the teams not by one bleeding lunatic of a man! How can ONE man dictate the rules to such a massive sport? If I didn’t know better, I would think I had tripped into Wonderland and was about to have tea with the Mad Hatter for all the reality and sense this situation has. As you can see from the poll, an overwhelming majority of fans just want shot of Mosley (and Bernie) especially now the teams seems to be working together so well (most of the time). WHAT A FARCE! It is just embarrassing for the sport! (Excuse all the exclamation marks but I think this situation warrants them!!)

  17. Mikeman said on 15th May 2009, 23:16

    I think all the teams should done that, not only Ferrari – I believe they think they have some special clause in dealing with FIA that allows them to veto ant proposal… ridiculous… but if that’s true, then all other teams must make sure there is an equal treatment for them… It’s not enough FIA takes pleasure on making up sanctions for McLaren, now to have such a clause (and I’m heard this before…) it’s plain simply outrageous!
    I hope the courts rule against FIA, but, unfortunately, in these times we live… Justice is just a name given to a system that always rules in favor of the more powerful… So let’s hope and see what’s coming out of this mess…

    • jason said on 17th May 2009, 23:13

      The Mcclaren sanctions was so obviously hatred for Ron Dennis it was laughable. I believe this is another sign that Mosley has lost the faculties to run this sport. I was cheering for the new ferrari drivers at the time. and even I thought 100 mil?! thats absolutely ridiculous! Especially since the docs were given by a Ferrari employee.

  18. scunnyman said on 15th May 2009, 23:21

    Well Keith i think you’re wrong in your appraisal of Ferrari’s approach. I really couldn’t believe i voted to back Ferrari.
    For one thing i wanted to vote all 3 options. And secondly has Ferrari ever said it is against a CAP? so saying they are sticking up for those who want to spend their way out of trouble is a bit misleading.
    As far as the veto that Ferrari have against any rule changes is concerned it is the FIA’s fault and Bernie’s for letting them have it in the first place.
    They let themselves in for this trouble by favouring them years ago when Schumacher joined the team. They should have known it would come back to bite them in the ass eventually. So i have no simpathy with FIA.

    I have to back the teams, because without them there is no F1. And it’s no good Max saying their will be other teams to take over. Does anyone want to watch a watered down championship with a grid made up of junior series cars and drivers?

    It looks like this is going to drag on for months and months and guess who is going to suffer the most, us fans of course.

    • F1Yankee said on 16th May 2009, 0:33

      i’ll agree with what you’ve said here. i voted “neither” because like real-life, there don’t seem to be any good choices sometimes. with umpteen billions on the line, among other things, i would have thought common sense would intrude on our F1 world just this one time.

      i haven’t seen any team come out against a cap, exactly. brawn, williams and force india have quietly come out “for”. ferrari’s language has deliberately left some ambiguity there.

      i think the way ferrari dropped the bomb was a double escalation in this conflict. and rather distasteful, imo.

      don’t think for a minute that ferrari is some white (or red) knight bravely putting themselves between the helpless teams and an evil tyrant. ferrari’s goal in this is to compete in f1, and to wield ever more influence in the sport. they alone have their way with bernie, and many have said they have had their way with fia.

      strange, i cannot recall a sigle scandal or legal battle in le mans.

  19. Lord knows, we’re no fans of Max Mosley.

    But.

    If the status quo was preserved, how long before Toyota and then Renault pulled out, because they could no longer make the case in the boardroom that the obscenely large spend was worth it?

    How would you have felt watching a grid of 18 or 16 cars?

    Would that have been the critical number beyond which BMW and Mercedes felt involvement could no longer be justified?

    And, when the big teams were asked to run a third car to make up the numbers, wouldn’t that have been a two-tier championship in all but name?

    How long could Williams, to name one team, have stayed in business with budgets as they were?

    And wasn’t it notable that every single outfit that was mulling over the possibility of an entry refused to move before the budget cap was talked about but took a flying leap at the bandwagon as soon as it was in place?

    There is powerful evidence that Formula One was taking on water very fast, and long before this particular row blew up seemingly out of nowhere.

    Things may have been woefully mishandled by all sorts of people – Bernie, Max, the teams, pick your villain of choice and picture them twirling their moustaches in an evil fashion. Just don’t make the mistake of thinking it was an either/or.

    Formula One simply could not go on asking entrants and sponsors to spend the fantasy sums that it has demanded recently, often for them to drive round at the back of a field dominated by those who could effectively pay for victories. Action was needed and badly, and at least Mosley tried to do something.

    Of course, his judgement about what would work has hardly been borne out by recent events…

    • F1Yankee said on 16th May 2009, 0:42

      well said, sir! my favorite part was the “twirling moustaches”.

    • HounslowBusGarage said on 16th May 2009, 9:08

      I think you (all) have it about right, Brits on Pole.
      NB: I m not defending Max either.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 16th May 2009, 23:44

      How would you have felt watching a grid of 18 or 16 cars?

      But this is what many fans have been saying for years: F1 car numbers plunged to a little over 20 in the mid-nineties and the FIA kept them that low by requiring teams to lodge a £48m bond just to enter.

      Thus for over a decade F1 has been vulnerable to teams leaving at short notice. Only a recession of enormous scale has prompted the FIA hem to tackle the problem.

      Yes, the likes of Andrea Moda never deserved a place in F1 – but when historic outfits like Tyrrell and Lotus went to the wall perhaps they should have twigged that things had gone too far.

      This isn’t simply a question of being wise after the event. If your floor starts making creaking noises you don’t wait for it to give way before you get the builders in.

    • If the status quo was preserved, how long before Toyota and then Renault pulled out, because they could no longer make the case in the boardroom that the obscenely large spend was worth it?

      Renault spend a lot less than Toyota and Toyota have just started to produce faster cars so they might well argue that it’s worth it. But that’s beside the point the team recognize the need for cost cutting they’re just not happy with the manor in which the FIA want to go about it.

      How would you have felt watching a grid of 18 or 16 cars?

      Depending on the technological quality and competitiveness of he cars I would be fine with 16. 20 cars hasn’t exactly been a disaster.

      Would that have been the critical number beyond which BMW and Mercedes felt involvement could no longer be justified?

      I doubt it, at least their sponsors would get more coverage.

      And, when the big teams were asked to run a third car to make up the numbers, wouldn’t that have been a two-tier championship in all but name?

      No because the teams would all adhere to the same set of rules. Redbull already run 4 cars anyway.

      How long could Williams, to name one team, have stayed in business with budgets as they were?

      Williams weren’t/aren’t spending £400M.

      And wasn’t it notable that every single outfit that was mulling over the possibility of an entry refused to move before the budget cap was talked about but took a flying leap at the bandwagon as soon as it was in place?

      Where is the evidence for this? Nothing is in place yet.

      There is powerful evidence that Formula One was taking on water very fast

      Show me the powerful evidence?

      Formula One simply could not go on asking entrants and sponsors to spend the fantasy sums that it has demanded recently, often for them to drive round at the back of a field dominated by those who could effectively pay for victories.

      They aren’t fantasy sums of money they are real but F1 didn’t demand them and you can’t just spend to win as Toyota know all too well. Renault won back to back titles on half as much as Toyota spent to win nothing. And another thing the existence of vast sums of money is nothing new.

      Yes, the likes of Andrea Moda never deserved a place in F1 – but when historic outfits like Tyrrell and Lotus went to the wall perhaps they should have twigged that things had gone too far.

      Privateer teams come and go, Ferrari are the only team who have been there from the start. Williams had their chance with BMW and they blew it, not because of money but because of incompetence. McLaren had their chance with Mercedes and they made it work. Look at the differing fortunes of the teams once run by Peter Sauber and Eddie Jordan. Well run teams will succeed and poorly run teams will not.

  20. Raceaddict said on 16th May 2009, 0:11

    Not me scunnyman. The last time we had a comparable (watered-down) scenario was the “Jim Clark Trophy”. As you remember this was the “B” trophy for non-turbo cars; schizophrenic at best.

    This is precisely the reason the Le Mans form holds less attraction to me; time-sharing on the track. It goes against the purity that F1 has been able to achieve, and makes it less understandable and therefore less enjoyable to all but the hard-core.

    May I suggest a team-backed impeachment of MM’s throne in favor of Ron Dennis/

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