Williams F1, as expected, has submitted their entrance application tot he FIA for the 2010 Formula 1 season. The deadline was set by the FIA for May 29th, six months earlier than normal, and was to accommodate new teams interested in entering the series.
Adam Parr, Williams CEO, has told Reuters:
“The unity of FOTA is of paramount importance to Williams,” he told Reuters.
“Yesterday we joined the other members of FOTA in writing to the FIA (International Automobile Federation) to request a continuing effort to find a compromise concerning the regulations for 2010.”
Parr said Williams and FOTA were also seeking an early signing of a new Concorde Agreement, the confidential accord governing the sport which the teams, FIA and commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone have yet to put their names to.
“We believe that under the leadership of (Ferrari president Luca) di Montezemolo and (Toyota motorsport president) John Howett, FOTA has extracted some very significant concessions from the FIA,” said Parr.
“These include not only the procedural aspects of the budget cap but also other elements that will enable the higher budget teams to participate.
“Having said that, Williams has — and has always maintained — that we have a binding contract with both FOM (Ecclestone’s Formula One Management) and the FIA to participate in the world championship from 2008 to 2012.
“We have been paid in full for our participation and we feel both morally and legally obliged to make it clear that we will participate in Formula One in the future as we have in the past 30 years.
“We owe this to our employees, our sponsors and the fans, all of whom are affected by statements that the teams may not enter next year’s championship.”
“We will continue to work within FOTA and with FOM and FIA to find a compromise but no-one should be in any doubt about our commitment to the FIA F1 world championship,” said Parr.
What does this mean to FOTA and the unity that has been proclaimed following a series of meetings to true-up the foundation of the organization? It means that Williams is playing both sides. They have to. If the FOTA unity gamble doesn’t pay off, Sir Frank doesn’t want to be left holding the bag with a team that has no series to race in. Their whole reason and way of life depends on racing so they have no other industry to fall back on. They have to race or starve. It’s that easy. FOTA surely understand that but the interesting issue may be the fact that Force India and Brawn GP face a similar situation. Time will tell if they break ranks and file for application in 2010.
Ultimately it is a necessary evil that they file the application. Will it weaken FOTA’s position? No. FOTA include Force India, Brawn GP and Williams F1 but they don’t put butt’s in seats like Mercedes, Ferrari, Renault, BMW, Toyota and Red Bull. Revenue is generated by the top three teams and while Williams has a legion of fans, you could pack them neatly in a Conex container compared to the galactic fan base that Ferrari, BMW and McLaren have. Just saying…