Formula One’s fragile peace deal was thrown into doubt again on Wednesday when eight leading teams walked out of a meeting with the governing body after being told they had not been entered into next year’s championship and would have no say on finalizing cost-cutting measures.
The Formula One Teams Association (FOTA) accused the FIA of putting “the future of Formula One in jeopardy” by reneging on a deal that saw them freeze plans to form a breakaway series.
At a meeting of the World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) two weeks ago in Paris, the FIA had backed down on plans to implement a voluntary budget cap that had angered FOTA.
The rapprochement saw the FOTA teams agree to cut costs to 1990s levels and FIA announce that they would be entered into next year’s championship.
However, at Wednesday’s meeting of the German Grand Prix to discuss the rules for next year’s series, the FIA’s technical chief told the FOTA teams that was not the case.
FOTA said in a statement: “The team managers were informed by Mr Charlie Whiting of the FIA that, contrary to previous agreements, the eight FOTA teams are not currently entered into the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship and have no voting rights in relation to the technical and sporting regulations thereof.”
FOTA’s members — Ferrari, McLaren, BMW Sauber, Renault, Toyota, Red Bull, Toro Rosso and Brawn GP — asked for the meeting of the technical working group to be postponed.
“This was rejected on the grounds that no new Concorde Agreement would be permitted before a unanimous approval of the 2010 regulations was achieved,” FOTA said. “However, it is clear to the FOTA teams that the basis of the 2010 technical and sporting regulations was already established in Paris.”
FOTA said at no point in the June 24 meeting in Paris did the FIA request “unanimous agreement on regulations change expressed.”
“To subsequently go against the will of the WMSC and the detail of the Paris agreement puts the future of Formula 1 in jeopardy,” FOTA said. “As a result of these statements, the FOTA representatives at the subsequent Technical Working Group [on Wednesday] were not able to exercise their rights and therefore had no option other than to terminate their participation.”
The FIA said that all 13 teams in next year’s championship must sign a legally binding agreement to reduce costs to early 1990s levels and agree to a minimum car weight of 620kg.
“The eight FOTA teams were invited to attend the meeting to discuss their further proposals for 2010,” the FIA said. “Unfortunately no discussion was possible because FOTA walked out of the meeting.”