The current F1 teams have entered the 2010 championship after all — but with their submissions effectively asking the FIA to play by their rules, the discussions are far from over.
Political games have been played in and around the paddock over the last few weeks but it now seems that FOTA are playing the same 'no-budge' game the FIA played when they laid down the two-tier budget-cap rules suggestion earlier in the year.
The first hurdle is June 12, by which time the teams have demanded a new Concorde agreement be signed — or they are out. That gives them, the FIA and Bernie Ecclestone's FOM just eight days to hammer out an agreement for not just the next year of the sport, but the next three. Not an easy task — especially considering the FOTA teams are likely to be demanding a greater involvement in the decision process, something that is likely to create some very bipolar opinions around the table.
The FOTA teams have not revealed their demands for a new Concorde agreement (a governing agreement that has always been a closely-guarded secret) and they anticipate having to flex on their demands in this case. But if an agreement is found here, there will still be a crucial sticking point because FOTA insist a budget cap is not on their radar.
The FIA have already moved their marker in the sand, having initially declared a £30 million cap and moved to £40m with a number of significant line items removed — and it now seems a rough estimate of around £75-80m is about on the money, with important items like drivers and marketing pulled out of the mix.
At that price, March, Prodrive, Lola, Superfund, US F1, Litespeed, Epsilon Euskadi and Campos Meta1 have all still lodged their entries - but the existing teams will not budge and will still not enter unless the FIA agree to scrap it.
Instead, the FOTA teams claim to have proposed a "sensible method" of controlling costs without using the auditing methods of which they seem to be so much in fear. The cost of leasing engines and transmissions, they claim, has been reduced by more than 50 per cent and with more budget chopping suggestions in their proposal they hope they can convince the FIA to back off their push for an overall budget cap.
But no matter how many exotic materials are banned, how big a reduction in aerodynamic elements is introduced and how much cheaper gearboxes become, with no budget cap there will always be a massive gap between the haves and the have-nots.
And whether the FIA — and the new teams who have now lodged their entries - can accept that remains to be seen...
DATE PUBLISHED ON: 4 JUNE 2009