Toyota Threaten F1 exit for 2010

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John Howett
The FIA used the World Motor Sport Council hearing two weeks ago to ratify and release the 2010 regulations which included a budget cap and strict regulations for those teams not participating in the cost-regulated formula. This was met with concern from most of the teams and drivers including Ferrari. Ferrari boss Luca di Montezemolo sent a letter to Max Mosley, FIA President, sharing his concern and reminding him of, if you believe rumors, a special veto right they received for signing the renewal of the Concorde Agreement a few years ago. This event signified the end of the GPWC in which the teams attempted to unify as a bargaining group against the FIA and FOM. But now FOTA, the Formula One Teams Association, is more unified and Luca insinuated that Ferrari may seek other opportunities should the budget cap and its application not be better described and planned including input from the manufacturers. Max replied that F1 would survive without Ferrari.

Now Toyota has upped the chess match by plainly stating they would not be submitting an entry application for the 2010 season unless serious concessions are made regarding the FIA’s 2010 regulations.

“Under the rules as they are published, we cannot submit an entry,” he told AUTOSPORT in an exclusive interview. “There are concerns about the governance process within the sport, that there are clearly prescribed areas of discussion within the sporting and technical rules and we don’t feel they are being complied with.

“From Toyota’s perspective there are a number of concerns that really need clarifications before we commit to the future. We want to be here. We believe we have been a good corporate citizen within the F1 environment, but now we must reflect long and hard on what we do in the future.”

When asked to clarify what the chances were of Toyota lodging an entry by the end of this month, Howett said: “I would say it is very likely we won’t enter unless something changes significantly.”

Autosport reports that the rumor is FOTA is going to boycott the application date until they get a serious discussion with the FIA regarding the 2010 regulations. It is also understood that FOTA is working on their own cost-cutting measures to be presented to the FIA in two weeks.

This is the most to-the-point statement by any team yet about their disdain for the regulations and their reticence to participate in the series with the proposed 2010 regulations. They also are unhappy with the manner in which it was handled and as previously mentioned, the FIA may have been out of bounds as Ferrari eluded to a potential veto option they are rumored to have which prevents the FIA from a mandate and unilaterally passing regulations without team consent; specifically Ferrari’s. Should this be the case, then the FIA have errantly passed regulations ignoring their own regulatory procedure as established in the Concorde Agreement. The plot thickens as the issue heat up this weekend but if Mosley felt F1 would survive without Ferrari; would it survive without Ferrari and Toyota? How about Ferrari, Toyota, BMW and Mercedes? I doubt it.

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