The FIA will ditch the idea of a two-tier F1 championship, but aren’t prepared to budge much on the £40m budget. That’s what seems to have come out of Max ‘n’ Bernie’s Big Budget Cap Meeting.
The F1 supremos met the leading teams – including Ferari, Toyota, Red Bull and Renault, who have all threatened to pull out of the championship if the 2010 regulations were enforced – in London on Friday but, in typical F1 form, the outcome of the meeting is anything but clear.
“We had an interesting meeting and exchange of views,” Mosley told the BBC after the meeting. “There will certainly not be a two-tier championship, but I’d be very reluctant to increase the budget cap above £40m because I think that would discourage new teams from entering.”
Such a compromise is still unlikely to impress the big teams. Mosley revealed that Ferrari have filed an injunction with a French court to prevent the budget cap being enforced. “I’d be very surprised if Ferrari do leave,” said the FIA boss. “[But ] when people start bringing proceedings it becomes very difficult to deal with them.”
Lil’ Bernie Ecclestone echoed Mosley’s sentiments. “I think it’s been agreed we shouldn’t have [the two-tier system], we should have just one system,” he said after the meeting. “I think everyone is more or less happy with the budget cap, it’s just a case of how much.”
Big Flav Briatore might disagree. “The rules should be written by us,” said the Renault boss before Friday’s meeting. “They can’t be imposed by Max without him speaking to anyone. That’s an unacceptable way to work.”
So the situation may be stickier than Bernie is making out. The big teams seem fundamentally opposed to a budget cap, while Max and Bernie are determined to push it through and attract new teams to F1.
It certainly doesn’t look like we’ll have a resolution before May 29 – the date by which teams must register for next year’s championship – so Mosley has hinted that the deadline could be extended.
Are we looking at the beginning of the end of the budget cap argument? Or just the end of the beginning? Watch this space…