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)

  1. 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!!)

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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 ÂŁ48m 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 ÂŁ400M.

      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.

  5. 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/

  6. Rabi said on 16th May 2009, 0:30

    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?

    • F1Yankee said on 16th May 2009, 0:39

      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.

  7. pSynrg said on 16th May 2009, 0:40

    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…

  8. William Wilgus said on 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!

  9. Bigbadderboom said on 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.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 16th May 2009, 23:45

      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…

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

  10. David A said on 16th May 2009, 2:00

    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.

  11. manatcna said on 16th May 2009, 2:01

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

    The teams are Formula One

    The sport wouldn’t miss mosely or ecclestone

    • Ben Ell said on 16th May 2009, 5:33

      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.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 16th May 2009, 23:46

      Teams are interchangeable, expendable.

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

    • jason said on 17th May 2009, 23:31

      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!!

  12. Jonesracing82 said on 16th May 2009, 2:49

    shock horror that ferrari has taken something to court!

    • Richard S said on 16th May 2009, 6:42

      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.

  13. sean said on 16th May 2009, 2:53

    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.

    • jason said on 17th May 2009, 23:39

      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.

  14. Peter Boyle said on 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.

    Sheesh.

    • sean said on 16th May 2009, 3:55

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

    • HounslowBusGarage said on 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.

    • Kayleigh said on 16th May 2009, 10:29

      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 ÂŁ40million – 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..

  15. The Limit said on 16th May 2009, 3:25

    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.

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