We’ve been getting slightly mixed messages from both camps in the FIA-FOTA battle in recent days which could be read as signs of an impending truce.
But today Ferrari and Renault took steps to highlight the seriousness of their threat not to compete in F1 next year if FOTA’s demands are not met. A letter sent by Renault which arrived with its suppliers this week stated:
Renault Sport must not only substantially reduce its activity, budget and therefore list of suppliers, but may even decide, in the worst case scenario, as mentioned by Bernard Rey and Flavio Briatore on 13 May, not to compete in the Formula 1 World Championship in 2010.
Bernard Rey is the chairman of Renault F1. He is close to Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn who told the French press today:
Today we pay to be in Formula One and that is not normal. Intermediaries have made enough money. We want to take back control of Formula One.
Meanwhile Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali shrugged off suggestions that the team’s contract with the FIA forces them to participate in 2010:
Ferrari’s position has not changed. Back on 29 May, we put in a conditional entry with the other teams that make up FOTA. Along with this entry, we put forward to the FIA a package of proposals which included among other elements, a significant reduction in costs.
As always, we will do all we can to find a solution that is acceptable to all parties. If this is not possible, then the FIA will not be able to include Ferrari in the list of teams entered for the 2010 FIA Formula 1 World Championship.
It is worth remembering why Ferrari’s attempt to use the French courts to block the FIA’s 2010 rules was rejected. It was not on grounds that the contract was invalid – which might have offered Ferrari a way out of this predicament. It was because the court ruled Ferrari had missed an earlier opportunity to exercise the technical veto afforded to it by the contract.
Perhaps, then, Ferrari’s agreement with the FIA is rather more iron-clad than they would like to believe.
More on the FIA-FOTA row