Ferrari to leave F1 in 2010; will not submit car registration!

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The Ferrari Board of Directors has met to discuss the future of Ferrari in F1. The answer?

“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,” said the statement.

“If these indispensable principles are not respected and if the regulations adopted for 2010 will not change, then Ferrari does not intend to enter its cars in the next Formula 1 World Championship.”

“No F1 in 2010 if the rules do not change. Ferrari confirms its opposition to the new rules imposed by FIA and does not intend to register cars for the 2010 F1 world championship,”

Toyota have announced their exit from the series should the budget cap concept offered by the FIA stand and now Ferrari have made it clear, ratified by the Board of Directors, that they will follow suit unless the FIA changes the regulations for 2010.

Why is this important? Ferrari already announced they had serious concerns of continuing in a two-tiered sport via Luca di Montezemolo’s letter to the FIA last week but the rebuttal from Max Mosley is the key to understanding Ferrari’s board meeting today. Let’s recap what Max said in response to Luca’s letter from last week:

“I hope and think that when a team goes to its board and says, ‘I want to go to war with the FIA, because I want to be able to spend £100m more than the FIA want me to spend,’ the board will say, ‘Why can’t you spend £40m if the other teams can do it?'”

Notice that Max has clearly insinuated that Luca may not be in touch with what the Ferrari board of directors would most likely feel regarding the budget cap. Today’s meeting of the Ferrari Board of Directors has sent a resounding shot back across the bow of the FIA. The board was offered the options and decided that Max is very much mistaken. They would choose to leave F1 rather than to participate in a budget cap scheme or two-tier regulated sport.

This is a very large decision for a team that has been in the sport for 60 years. It is the premier marque of F1 and as such carries tremendous weight. Toyota have announced their intention and BMW has as well. Will FOTA gather around the lead taken by Ferrari’s board of directors and place pressure on the FIA to do away with the budget cap concept? FOTA has offered to help provide realistic measures to reducing costs that represent a unified voice from all teams but the FIA has rejected that offer. Sir Frank Williams says he has no choice as a pure racer but to sign the application for car registration for next year as it is his sole reason for existence. The coming days should be very interesting politically and all of this is on the heels of the tragic loss of Max Mosley’s son Alexander. The pressure must be enormous for him personally and while I am sure the teams feel reticent about doing business, the show must go on.

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