Overshadowing today’s practice sessions, the world of Formula 1 has gone crazy this morning, with the announcement by the Formula One Teams’ Association (FOTA) that its teams are going to leave F1 and set up their own series.
The eight member teams – Ferrari, McLaren, Brawn, BMW, Toyota, Renault, Red Bull and Scuderia Toro Rosso - have said that they can’t ‘continue to compromise the fundamental values of the sport’.
FIA boss Max Mosley urged the teams to drop the conditions they’d attached to their entries for the 2010 F1 championship, but they have declined his, erm, urges.
Of the new series, FOTA says: ‘[We] have no alternative other than to commence the preparation for a new Championship which reflects the values of its participants and partners. This series will have transparent governance, one set of regulations, encourage more entrants and listen to the wishes of the fans, including offering lower prices for spectators worldwide, partners and other important stakeholders.
‘The major drivers, stars, brands, sponsors, promoters and companies historically associated with the highest level of motorsport will all feature in this new series.’
This is no doubt another power play by FOTA to try to get what it wants, but Mosley’s a wily old fox in these situations and rarely loses a fight.
What’s most likely to happen now is that Bernie Ecclestone will step in and broker a deal between the two camps, but we’ll have to wait and see.
Either way, it won’t threaten the racing this weekend, which promises to be epic.
What do you think about FOTA’s threat – is there anything in it?
UPDATE: according to the live text on BBC Sport:
‘The FIA is to issue legal proceedings without delay against the Formula One Teams Association following their threat to begin a breakaway series.’
Youch, I wonder on what grounds? Ferrari and the Red Bull teams are apparently contracted with the FIA to race in F1 for the next couple of years, but surely the others can do what they like?
This weekend is going to be messy off the track.