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. The solution is simple: tell Max to get lost as he is an incapable old coot.

    Formula 1 is screwed without Ferrari, so I don’t why he’s allowed to play these games.

  2. The cap and the rules changes are all smoke and mirrors disguising the real struggle: Who’s sport is it, and who will get all the money?

    Bernie and Max are forcing the cap on the teams simply to reduce the amount of money the teams seek from the sport; end of story! More for CVC and Bernie to pocket.

    If Max and Bernie are no longer in a position to dictate these kinds of changes, they will no longer be in a position to secure the cash.

    Of course the teams are willing to reduce costs, but on their terms, not Max’s or Bernie’s. Max is willing to flush the sport’s entire history down the crapper, including Ferrari, simply to maintain his personal position of power and Bernie’s cash. Follow the money.

    Big business at its biggest and baddest.

  3. 1) as a rabid tifosi, let me just say that if Ferrari is NOT bluffing, then to hell with them –
    2) if these things can’t be negotiated without this harmful crap going on, then something big DOES need to change, and this change would/will be painful –
    3) as I mis-posted on an older article, what’s happening on-track for five years now is GREAT – it should be a Golden Age…

  4. The FIA’s proposal has blatant weaknesses in it, ranging from an encouragement to the uncapped teams to spend more to counteract the technical advantage of the smaller teams (this weakness no longer applies as of yesterday afternoon) to requiring the cost-regulated teams to know their staff, suppliers and agencies 14 months in advance on pain of an unspecified penalty.

    To bring in such a proposal in a way that breaks both Appendix 5 of the Sporting Regulations (because neither the Technical Working Group nor the Sporting Working Group agreed to the measure) and also the Ferrari veto simply shows how weak the proposal is.

    Moving the deadline for entry from the end of July to May 29 seals the deal for me. The FIA thinks it can do what it likes no matter how badly it does it without getting help or consultation from anyone that may be able to assist its job. Someone has to do something and Ferrari taking the FIA to court is probably the best thing that could have happened to F1 right now. Maybe in future the FIA will think before imposing new regulations against what would be advisable.

  5. I’m for the teams.
    The two tier thing is nothing and most teams can’t be run with a 40mil budget… not yet atleast!

    They should cap it, but much higher, for sure.

    Let’s hope Max is gone quickly so we get a fresh wind and less political BS.

  6. Pitpass has an interesting article questioning the right of the FIA to make such regulations at all (following the European Union’s ruling in 2001). Bernie Ecclestone seems to have agreed.

  7. I’d like to believe that no team is bigger than the sport, but frankly I don’t. And the fact that McLaren got away with very lenient punishments for two separate serious offences over three years shows that the FIA don’t believe it either – they need all the teams they can get.

    That said, I don’t think Ferrari automatically deserve to get all they have asked for out of these talks. They are the only team that disagrees fundamentally with the principle of a budget cap – surely on that point they will be forced to come to a compromise, and a good thing it will be too.

  8. While the budget cap is a nice idea, in reality it’s stupid. In will be completely unenforceable. There will be a million ways teams can buy things below cost from parent companies, get free labor, or hide costs to meet the cap. You’ll just end up w/ teams arguing about who really spent what (which is always what Max wants anyway).

    My vote: Coup, Coup, Coup!

    It’s high time Max was gone. In a properly run sport, we would never, ever be talking about the governing body because it would be operating smoothly in the background. It just wouldn’t be an issue and that’s one of the biggest problems w/ Max. He manufactures drama to keep himself in power and at the center of everyone’s attention (he’s like a spoiled 5 year old, except there aren’t many 5 year olds who like neo-nazi hookers).

    1. In will be completely unenforceable.

      While true of any top-down budget cap, the FIA hits the nail on the head by asking teams to voluntarily race under the cap. This way, it is up to the teams to prove they comply with the rules. And so they can in effect be found guilty until proven innocent.

  9. Max Mosley in his BBC interview made it very clear he believes that teams will not be able to acquire sponsorship to maintain 200 pound plus budgets. The teams however in their oposition to Max’s plan are saying they can raise the money. The team to focus on is Renault. Renault is struggling now and yet they dont agree with Max even though they will be losing ING next year. Max went on to say that the teams just are accustomed to their budgets and dont realize whats going on. The boards of directors are fully aware of thier F1 budgets. They dont need to make up lies to Max. Max wants gaurantees from teams. How can business’s make gaurantees in a changing economy.
    To me theres something missing from this story. Whats Max’s real motivation here? If he lets that out maybe this can be solved.

  10. i voted for the teams even though i don’t like ferrari..the teams ARE F1, because of support given to them by the fans the sport exists and bernie makes money and max has a job..bernie and max especially are just “by the way”..the fia is just a referee but max is acting like an emperor..

    on another’s interesting that ferrari have veto powers on technical regulations since 1998..makes one wonder of the shine on all those constructors and drivers trophies they have bcos technically one could exercise one’s power to have the regs go one’s way to produce a fast car which suits one’s driver..hmmm..

    anyway, costs need to be this economy everybody is trying to reduce cost, it’s common sense but having a two tier sport with 1 championship at the end is just plain stupid..

    just get rid of max no matter what the issue..he’s been there too long and is becoming an emperor (star wars anyone?)..

  11. Accidentalmick
    16th May 2009, 19:03

    @ Man

    Thanks for tagging that article.

    Makes you wonder why FOTA don’t just tell Mosely to go play in the traffic.

  12. For once, I voted in support of Max and the FIA. Even though I don’t think he should be forcing the issue quite as hard as he is, I admire that he’s trying to change the status quo of the sport, which is a bad business model to begin with.

    For Ferrari, Toyota and the rest of the grumpy bunch, it’s all about fear……

    These big-budget teams are spending hundreds of millions of dollars a season- some are very successful, others are not. But the big money is a security blanket for those involved in F1- they feel if new teams can come in and compete on a much smaller budget, the entire pecking order of the sport will be thrown into uphevial. Moreover, some of the big brass would look quite foolish- can you imagine the Toyota board asking John Howett who Lola is beating his team in every race in 2010 despire running less than half of Toyota’s budget?

    I beleive Flavio had a quote last weke that said teams just can’t come in and spend way less than Ferrari and Renault and compete. My reply to that would be “Why the (insert explative here) not!!!” The bototm line is the big teams view their big spending as a security blanket, and anything that poses a threat to that security, they will fight to the bitter end.

    My answer to the teams currently in disagreement with the cost cuts is “If you and all your people can’t put together a competitive car, and some of these new teams really can, then you don’t belong in the sport to begin with.”

  13. John Spencer
    16th May 2009, 20:06

    It’s always interesting to read the comments on F1Fanatic – whatever you think, there’s always someone with a compelling counter-argument. I voted for Ferrari merely on the grounds that I am incapable of supporting Max. Having read some of the points here and on other sites, I’m sticking with that decision.

    Whatever the outcome of Ferrari’s court action, this whole thing looks like getting a lot more complicated. If you’ve ever tried to explain to a non-F1Fanatic what the difference is between FIA, FOM and FOTA, and who makes what rules, you’ll end up confused. Turns out that FIA, FOM and FOTA aren’t entirely clear either.

    There’s an interesting piece on PitPass explaining that Max and the FIA may not have the power to change the rules in F1, given that the rules influence its commercial exploitation.

    This dates back to a 2001 EU Commision ruling when there was concern over anti-competitive practices in F1. I haven’t read the ruling or pretend to understand it, but one interpretation is that the FIA cannot change the F1 rules without the agreement of the teams (FOTA) and the commercial rights holder (FOM – Bernie).

    It might also seem crazy that one team alone thinks it has a legal right to veto rule changes, but it only has this right because Max and Bernie gave it to them a few years ago to prevent a breakaway series.

    It also seems crazy that Max thinks he knows more about the teams’ future finances than they do. It’s clear that everyone agrees budgets should be cut substantially, but nobody seems to understand why Max’s way should be the only way.

    It’s easy to forget that both Max and Bernie were team owners themselves a good few years ago, and they muscled their way into the regulatory side of F1 to make sure that they got (a) more control and (b) more money. Perhaps this is why they’re so concerned about FOTA doing to them what they did to Balestre et al way back when.

    This crisis also brings into sharp focus the fact that Max and Bernie aren’t the odd couple. Odd, yes. But they only work together when it suits them. I read a biography of Bernie a few years ago, and the one thing that stands out in his character is a preoccupation with business above all else. His (soon to be ex-) wife was astonished to find herself ejected from their honeymoon suite when Bernie ushered in a couple of burly men. Turns out he needed to complete a deal before he could think about anything else.

    I used to see Bernie quite often on Saturday mornings in Fortnum & Mason. He would be having breakfast with his real friends – people he didn’t do business with, in other words. You would have thought the the diminutive pensioner eating a single fried egg with a bunch of old men was running a golf club, rather than a multi-billion pound business.

    Bernie’s going to carry on running that business until the day he dies, and he’s not going to let Max, FOTA or Ferrari reduce his income by one penny.

    He’ll do a deal. He always does.

  14. I voted for Max for the sole reason that I don’t like Ferrari and would prefer them out of F1. Max has called their bluff. Ferrari taking Max to court is a desperate attempt to save face.

  15. I think Ferrari are blowing things out of proportion, and by doing so are loosing a big chunk of their fans that still prefer F1 over any other series.

    Max Mosley’s FIA might be over twisting the teams’ hands, but what he is offering is legitimate and the 2 tier thing now looks to have been just a detail and was never set to be carried out.
    I have always been against limiting budgets, and to me ultimately F1 should go back to the de-restricted days of the 80s and early 90s.
    If de-restriction is to be a ******* child of budget caps and a grid without Ferrari, than so be it. i like the fact that teams not paying as much as ferrari get to almost literally rip the regs up and get a free for all. and i think restricted regulations have given some neat aero solutions on this year’s cars. so i can only imagine what a budget restriction would do if there were no rules. engineers like Newey and Brawn to name a couple would be the stars of the show, and F1 will be back to be at the cutting edge of engineering innovation, albeit at a [40m pound) nickel and dime.

  16. I just watched Max Mosley being interviewd by the BBC [ (possibly only available to UK residence)] following yesterdays FIA meeting with FOTA. I was particularly struck by Max’s admission that the Toyota boss tried to get the rest of the teams to walk out of the meeting in protest by that non of the teams wanted to do this. Toyota are clearly unhappy with the FIA…

  17. I voted for neither, because I’m tired of both sides. I’d support whatever series has the best drivers. That’s why I watch. I could care less who administers the sport, or which teams are involved, however storied their history may be.

  18. 200 pound plus budgets?

  19. I stand 100% behind the FOTA and Ferrari. If Ferrari were to leave F1, it would be like the Montreal Canadiens or Toronto Maple Leafs leaving the NHL. Its almost hard to fathom something like that.
    Speaking of the NHL, they have a cap system where in the cap increases each year depending on the average icome from the season before.
    If FIA want to decrease spending, then they should implement a cap system that slowly decreases at the start of each year. You can’t ask a team that spends an average of 100 million to suddenly drop down to 40 mil. That would result in unbelievable job losses plus many logistical problems for every team. But overall, I don’t agree with a cap system in any form for Formula 1. Every team knows what their budget will be for each season and they won’t spend over that unless they are completely stupid. Let the teams worry about the teams and let FIA worry about the rules on the track.
    As a side note I just want to say: For all that is good and holy, if you want more passing then stop adding street circuits!

  20. The way I see it is that we all love to watch a sport that for the protagonists is all about vested interest. Not different for other sports. Football, tennis, even athletics is like that. So its all about the vested interests of the teams against those of FIA. And obviously through a process like that the sport gets its shape, it develops to something you personally like to watch or not. The FIA feels it is better for it’s own good to have a sport with poorer teams. The teams feel they want to spend as much as they want to do the sport and FIA looks to poorer teams and says “hey I’ve stripped the rich guys off the guns, go fight”. I love the sport and watched it whenever a TV channel would broadcast it in my country, but I never had any illusions about it.
    Budget cap? Could anyone think of a budget cap in England’s premier league? Could anyone ever think that restricting the money Manchester United (which I don’t support) and the other top teams spend would make British football better or more successful? Most probably it would level out otherwise mid class football. That is one thing about budget capping in a world economy driven off profit.
    The second most important thing though is does anyone see anybody out there that would effectively audit a company’s financial books and find out the real numbers hiding behind? Remember Enron? For those that know a bit about financial books there are companies that follow a financial year (fiscal year as it’s called) starting in July and ending next June……… right in the middle of the championship. When are you going to audit? And if you find a team (a company) spent more last year, what is it you do? strip them off their points, positions, or even championships? What is the kind of sport we are going to watch? Action, subject to audit?
    It is stupid to try to impose technical rules through budget capping. Impose cheaper technical rules and let the teams spend what they want.
    I voted for the teams
    Two tier? Try to imagine a 2 tier premier league: half the teams with as many foreign players as they like and the others with the same players for ever! Well it would be a type of sport that one too, but we should find it a name

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