Formula One meltdown! Ferrari threaten to quit championship over £40m salary cap
Ferrari, the most famous name in the history of motor sport, left Formula One on the brink of chaos yesterday after saying they will withdraw from the sport next season unless there are fundamental changes to the new regulations.
The Italian team say they will end 60 years of unbroken participation in grand prix racing if governing body, the FIA, impose their controversial plans to introduce a £40million budget cap next season.
Ferrari said: ‘If the regulations adopted for 2010 do not change, then Ferrari does not intend to enter its cars in the next championship. Ferrari trusts that its many fans worldwide will understand this difficult decision.’
Ferrari, the only ever-present team since the championship began in 1950, are due to meet FIA president Max Mosley on Friday for talks which will shape the future of the sport.
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In a short statement on the team's website, the sport's most iconic team said they will not be on the grid in 2010.
"We confirm our opposition to the new technical regulations adopted by the FIA and do not intend entering our cars in the 2010 F1 Championship," the statement read.
Toyota and Red Bull have already threatened not to enter next year's championship unless the new rules published by the governing International Automobile Federation (FIA) are changed.
The FIA, headed by Max Mosley, want to introduce an optional £40m budget cap next year to encourage new teams to enter, but will now be under huge pressure to reassess the plans.
The plan would allow capped teams to operate with far greater technical freedom than those continuing with unlimited budgets.
Ferrari's president Luca di Montezemolo, head of the Formula One Teams' Association (FOTA), has warned it would create a two-tier championship that could be 'fundamentally unfair and perhaps even biased'.
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Crunch talks were already planned in the next few days with the May 29 deadline for 2010 entries fast approaching.
Prior to the Spanish Grand Prix, Toyota boss John Howett said his team were unlikely to commit by that deadline if the FIA pressed ahead with their plans, but it is Ferrari who have made the move first.
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Ferrari, the sport's oldest and most successful team, also threatened a pullout in October if proposals for a standard engine for all teams went ahead.
Mosely is hampered by comments earlier this month that F1 could not survive without Ferrari.
Ferrari are the only team to have contested every season of the world championship since the modern format was introduced in 1950.
But more than that, the tradition of the famous prancing horse has long been synonymous with the sport, and the team are the most popular among F1 fans.
The decision to threaten to pull out of the 2010 championship came at a meeting of the Ferrari board of directors in Maranello today.
Ferrari believe the FIA's new regulations would lead to an unacceptable two-tiered F1 championship, which they consider would be "based on arbitrary technical rules and economic parameters".
"The board consider that if this is the regulatory framework for Formula 1 in the future, then the reasons underlying Ferrari's uninterrupted participation in the World Championship over the last 60 years - the only constructor to have taken part ever since its inception in 1950 - would come to a close," said a report to the board meeting.
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The report went on to criticise the FIA's decision-making process, claiming that teams have not been properly consulted.
The report continued: "The rules of governance that have contributed to the development of Formula 1 over the last 25 years have been disregarded, as have the binding contractual obligations between Ferrari and the FIA itself regarding the stability of the regulations.
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"The same rules for all teams, stability of regulations, the continuity of the FOTA's endeavours to methodically and progressively reduce costs, and governance of Formula 1 are the priorities for the future.
"If these indispensable principles are not respected and if the regulations adopted for 2010 will not change, then Ferrari do not intend to enter our cars in the next Formula 1 World Championship."
FOTA have already forced a deferral of a change to Grand Prix scoring, mirroring a medal system, which will give the team's confidence.