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

Posted on Author Keith Collantine

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. 77% backing the teams so that’s a pretty big margin over the other two options.

    I completely agree with what Ferrari are doing, the FIA technical regulations are a joke, they keep changing their goalposts every year and make the teams spend more than they need to.

    Out of interest as I wasn’t around in the 80’s to follow F1 but how stable were the technical regulations in that era compared to Mosley’s era?

    1. regulation changes were spaced out over a few years. the rules in any motorsport always get more loosey-goosey the farther back in time you look.

  2. Bah, it’s all just one big publicity stunt to keep F1 on the front page as well as the back page.
    It’ll all just carry on as normal by the start of next season…

  3. William Wilgus
    16th May 2009, 0:56

    Really, folks, it’s very easy for F1 teams to get down to 40 million—just switch to running go-karts!

  4. Bigbadderboom
    16th May 2009, 1:52

    Why do so many people buy into this unsustainable future outlook?? The sponsors and the boards of directors ultimatley decide a teams budget and it’s future expenditure. These are not stupid people throwing good money after bad, and they know the risks and associated gains that F1 can bring. To believe they need their hands held by some out of touch bigwig from the FIA is an insult, the indusrty should remain self regulating as it is both the teams and the fans that the people putting up the money know they have to look after.
    I’m not sure this is a commercial argument, or even in the best interests of F1, this is about Mosley and his incestance an making his name through fighting battles simply to make a name for himself. Bernie as we all know is simply chasing the buck, but Max is more about power and his own position. The outcome will be more what the teams want than what Max wants, but undoubtadly Max will put a spin on the outcome, and try and make it look a positive for the FIA.

    1. These are not stupid people throwing good money after bad

      Honda were spending a nine-figure sum on a racing car conceived by a motorcycle designer with no sponsorship on it. I beg to differ…

    2. Honda became an exercise in marketing not racing and you have to judge their success by those criteria not in terms of racing.

  5. The FIA have already introduced a huge number of cost cutting regulations, and I feel that the continued use of these are fair, and make more sense than a budget cap. I voted for the teams like so many of us.

  6. It’s been said already, but it’s worth repeating

    The teams are Formula One

    The sport wouldn’t miss mosely or ecclestone

    1. not really. Teams are interchangeable, expendable. Go back 10 years and the teams which were on the grid look very different to today. Go back 10 years before that and they’re different again. Back 10, again. 10 more, again. The team changes, the category remains.

      I’m not saying this is right, or a good situation. And I’m not using it to push any one point of view. But its the reality of the situation.

    2. Teams are interchangeable, expendable.

      Which F1 would get more viewers: one with Ferrari and McLaren, or one with Litespeed and iSport?

    3. I would also like to point out that for me, the tracks are formula one. Silverstone is gone, Spa is every other year at best. They skip North America entirely. All epic tracks with hugh history in f1. But unlike teams running out of money, this was done by FIA management fees! Wow I get to watch two races in the desert and one in China where the stands are empty on RACE DAY!! But they forked over huge $30 mil to Bernie. This is not about the lack of money but who’s hands its going too!!

  7. Jonesracing82
    16th May 2009, 2:49

    shock horror that ferrari has taken something to court!

    1. No not really. When Ferrari wrote the letter to MM a few months back, they reminded him of their agreement with the FIA.

      The media latched onto this to report that Ferrari were seeking to keep the extra money (with an implication of greed), but really it was a shot across MM’s bows that he was in breach of contract (and now as it turns out, over making unilateral changes to the regulations).

      It was obvious at the time that the reason for the letter was a breach of contract and not the money, but no-one in the media made that connection. They just used it to bash Ferrari over the head (again).

      The court prodeedings are just the next step in that process. No-one should be surprised that Ferrari have gone to court over this, least of all MM.

      At stake is the enforcement of a written agreement with the FIA. Ferrari are obliged to try to enforce their legal rights over this.

  8. YES its all about the teams they are all fighting together it’s just that FERRARI have taken the lead against the FIA because they are in the stronger position due to the veto clause.People are forgetting what one man has done to this sport over the last 15 years he and he alone has introduced all the reg changes that have blown all these budgets out from grooved tyres right up to the diffuser row all can be placed at one man’s feet. I think people’s personal opinions or dislikes of certain teams should be put aside on this issue and realise that if the idiot is left in power how long before he changes the rules again at a whim and the remaining teams are crippled by what he believes to be in the best interest of the sport.

    1. well said Sean. Add to that the tracks we get or don’t get to see now. Spa sometimes no North America, Silverstone gone. Traded for boring deserts and empty grandstands. MM and Bernie are ruining this sport.

  9. Peter Boyle
    16th May 2009, 3:04

    This idea that F1 will die if the teams continue to spend
    is ridiculous.

    Providing the teams run balanced books, unlike our
    banks, the money flow in income will automatically limit
    their spending.

    As the market bites, so will the budgets and the teams will reign in their spending on their own. Just as when the market was favourable the teams ramped their spending.


    1. yes it’s the supply and demand basis .Loss in sales loss in income loss in spend basic business 101.

    2. HounslowBusGarage
      16th May 2009, 9:33

      In the wider economic world, Peter, we have all seen what happens when the markets operate unfettered and unrestricted over the past eighteen months or so. Hasn’t been good has it?
      The ‘market bites’ effect you mention will be brought into sharp relief towards the end of this season when some of the major financial sponsors (ING, RBS etc) cut back or withdraw completely. Sponsorship contracts are written seasons ahead. Tranches of agreed money are paid over at signing, commencement of display and also through the season. There is a huge lag between the success or failure of the sponsor’s business activities, and the paying of money to the teams. And if a sponsor company finds itself in difficulties, their immediate reaction is going to be to put all unnecessary expenditure (inc sponsorship) on hold. It won’t be a slow down or gentle decline; it will be a stop. Just like bank lending or the property market. And that’s not going to be good for any team.
      The time to address the problem of next season is this season. And not when some of the teams announce bankruptcy and/or immediate withdrawl.
      Like him or loathe him, Max is trying to address these problems. But, in typical Max style he has managed to enrage the very people who should be on his side.

    3. I agree with you Peter – if theres less sponsors willing to spend big bucks the teams will down grade as necessary, and budgets will shrink.

      I think the FIA should be encouraging cost cutting but not down to £40million – teams currently could spend half of that on wages alone so how on earth are they expected to get down to that level in 6 months?

      If the FIA hadnt brought in KERS then the teams would have spent considerably less money this year..

  10. When everything is put into perspective, what we are witnessing is not something that has suddenly just come about by the demise of Honda F1 and the global depression.
    These factors are just part of the equation, a catalyst in many ways, to where the sport finds itself. For way too many years, decades infact, Formula One has spent hundreds of billions of dollars and has been able to get away with it.
    The envitable ‘crunch’ was always just around the corner. When the big corporations, with their cheque books overflowing with cash, entered the sport as teams, the powers at be rejoiced.
    Nobody, except the fans, gave two hoots about the small independant teams that fell by the wayside, unable to keep up with the big boys. The likes of Tyrell, Brabham, Jordan, Ligier, Sauber, are all consigned to history. The very soul of the sport, sold to the highest bidder, all in the name of revenue and publicity.
    Make no mistake. Not one of the so called ‘teams’ cried when Jordan collapsed, or any other independant. Just another rival eliminated, too bad!
    The likes of Ferrari, BMW Sauber, Toyota, McLaren, etc etc care about one thing and one thing only. Their own interests! This battle has nothing to do with the sports ‘future’, and everything to do with blind ambition and political spin.
    Racked against them, is an FIA president whose credibility was all but destroyed by a sex scandal, and an F1 boss who would sell his mother for an extra $100 million that he neither needs nor would miss!
    Yes the current rules are open for exploitation, as Brawn Gp and their difusers have proved. Whatever rules are put into place, there will always be those who find ways around them.
    For Luca DeMontezemolo or anyone else to claim that all this is for the sports benefit spits in the face of us fans, as it is a complete lie. When Ferrari were winning championship after championship, some years as early as the now defunct French Gp, did Maranello protest?
    When McLaren stole Ferrari documents to enhance their own cars, did the boys at Woking consider the effect their deceit would have on the sport of F1? I could go on and on.
    So lets just remember that all parties involved have had more than a negative part to play in F1’s recent shortcomings. No one here is whiter than white.
    The teams are vitally important, but so is the introduction of fresh teams and fresh drivers. The sport needs an injection of change, starting from the very grass roots of the grid.
    F1 is a very unique sport. Spending $3 billion over six years does not buy you success, as Toyota have found to their considerable discomfort.
    On a positive note though, Ferrari’s actions, may well be a step in the right direction. With so many teams now showing alliances against Max Mosley, the FIA may very quickly find themselves boxed in with only one
    realistic alternative. To find another president!
    I cannot see, even in a man as ruthless and as single minded as Bernie Ecclestone, a reason in allowing any more teams a reason to depart Formula One. He would lose too much money, and he knows it.
    Max Mosley is a loose cannon, as his remarks about Ferrari have proved. He has ruffled feathers before by comments made about Jackie Stewart in the past, when criticised about his policies. In Mosley, you have a man so used to power, after sixteen long years incharge, that he has become totally paranoid and totally dictatorial.
    All around him he sees threats, to his power and his prestige, that he simply cannot stand to see go. His greatest threat, if this ‘war’ persists, is that his power and prestige will be sacrificed in order to maintain the sports existance.
    And, in truth, I do not suspect for one moment that I am alone in the hope that this will be the case.

  11. I just wonder what in the eaqrth those other 20 people in FIA WMSC are thinking? mas Mosley is jsut one man so how he can make rest of them do what ever he wants?

    Well country representing is very ntresting…Tazmania, Sweden, Venezuela, China, Czech Republic, Portugal etc. How many F1 drivers those countries have? Lol.

    It seems that FIA really dont need 20 other people in WMSC when they just say Yes what ever Max says.

    Hearing Max saying that cutting cost has to happens its strange that same time he made KERS rule which has incrised cost and if cost now has to cut that much it means incresing employment rates as well.

    I, as auditor can not understand his ideas. there is no way in the world that somebody can control that cost cut and there is no way that companies let somebody from FIA come and see cashbooks…it against all business life rules.

    I start feell more and more that this is all about power. Max want big teams out and small in so he can controll them better. If he things that teams can cut cost 100 Dollars by over night when next year car is under design allready, he really has lost his mind.

    Other thing is that if Ferrari has VETO rights FIA have broken rule and laws and i dont understand how he thought he can get out from it.

    Maybe he is getting bored when Ron Dennis is not there anymore so he has to start fight with somebody else…

  12. I did mean 100 milj. dollars lol

  13. F1Yankee

    Ferrari may technically oppose a budget cap, but they say they are not opposed to reducing the costs in Formula One.

    1. they have the deepest pockets of all, especially with their arab backing. obviously, that is an advantage they are bent on keeping.

      if they, or any team, were to promise to limit themselves, only a fool could believe them. right? or am i bananas?

  14. Prisoner Monkeys
    16th May 2009, 4:52

    I voted ‘neither’, because I actually think both are being pretty reasonable; the FIA wants to safeguard the future of the sport by expanding it, while FOTA want to see that the sport remains consistent. I think the big problem here is the egos and tensions have led to what amounts to a game of chicken, which both the FIA an FOTA looking to see who will back down first.

  15. The crux of the matter is this – the FIA want total control over F1. The teams dont want them to.

    Who has more right to control – the one making the investment, or the one benefitting from it?

    1. Who has more right to control – the one making the investment, or the one benefitting from it?

      Good question. We do need to keep sight of the fact that this is a three-way negotiation: how much money the teams get from Ecclestone has a significant effect on how large their budgets need to be.

      At the moment a gigantic quantity of F1’s earning leaves the sport to line Ecclestone and CVC’s pockets. Were more of that going to the teams – being re-invested in the sport – this would be less of a problem.

  16. theRoswellite
    16th May 2009, 7:01

    Although my comments are always “time zone inappropriate”, here goes…

    a) Max says he must save F1 from the Big Spenders who will leave the sport vacuously empty when they pull out after realizing their exorbitant spending is unsustainable and indefensible.
    Yet, at this point, his draconian proposals seem to be a more likely cause of their withdrawal.

    b) Levels of spending, and team participation, have changed era to era, but there has never been a time when…”they gave a race, and no one showed up.”
    Max seems to be showing a bit more pessimism than is really called for, especially considering the sporting success of the last two years. (Was he this concerned when one MS was leading a very stolid parade for a considerable part of 5 years in a row?)

    c) F1 employs a good number of folks, most of them very highly skilled and dedicated. His measures will, if adopted, bring to an end a long period of prosperity in the sport; one that has reached around the globe.
    Why does he feel that it is HIS MANDATE to “save” us from ourselves?

  17. I have voted for the teams. However there are many valid and good comments made about the current issues facing F1 today. As Robert correctly stated there is to very complex issues that need to be resolved.

    My concern is that should their be no compromise and the likes of Ferrari, Toyota, Red Bull etc not submit entries for 2010 then F1 is dead after Monaco for the simple reason that none of these team will be spending money on developing their cars for the rest of the 2009 season. You could very well have a situation where they will not participate in the Friday and Saturday pratice sessions, be knocked out in the first part of quali and retire the cars after 2 or 3 laps. Apart from that with Ferrari gone in 2010 you could have extremely poor attendance at the Italian GP and as a direct consequence we could see this venue dissappear from the F1 calender in future.

    Inconceivable – commensense must prevail.

  18. I voted for the teams.

    I think this is more about power than budget caps, but fair enough.

    Yes the FIA should be encouraging teams to cut costs to help keep everyone in business BUT at the end of the day its down to the individual teams to have the right people in place to get the money in etc.

    I think the sponsors and manufacturers are no longer in a position to throw money at the one big marketing exercise that is F1, so the budgets will naturally shrink as contracts are not renewed.

    When will the FIA learn that changing the rules only increases spending not reduces it – leave the rules as they are now for a few years and the costs will come down.

    Max did great things with the sport but now is going off the straight and narrow and I for one hope he sticks to his promise of not standing for re-election. For all those on twitter #maxout!!!

  19. Martin Bell
    16th May 2009, 10:58

    I have felt for some time that the manufacturers wield too much control over F1, as there can be few sports where the participants have so much influence on the rules. This latest sabre-rattling is just another round in this tedious battle for control, which from where I sit does nothing to improve my Sunday afternoons. The manufacturers have tried to invoke the same passion for their teams as Ferrari, but failed. Would any of us really miss Toyota, or BMW, or Renault? Neither side is right, just both completely self absorbed.

  20. Ferrari are clearly bluffing. Who would voluntarily give up their main (only) advertising platform???

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