FIA responds to Ferrari's quit threat
|By Jonathan Noble
||Tuesday, October 28th 2008, 14:39 GMT
The FIA has played down the significance of Ferrari's threat to quit Formula One if a standard engine is introduced - claiming that the onus is on the teams, not the governing body, to come up with better cost-cutting regulations.
Ferrari's Board published a statement on Monday night saying that the Italian team would consider their future in F1 if the FIA pressed ahead with the introduction of standard power plants from 2010.
Although that move, coming just hours after Toyota reiterated their threat to withdraw over the matter, has moved the standard engine to the centre of the debate over future rules changes - the FIA says the teams have already been offered clear alternatives.
This was laid out to the teams in a letter from FIA president Max Mosley last month stating that there were three options for teams with regards to future engine regulations - a standard engine, an engine from a single supplier or the supply of customer power units to independent teams for less than 5 million Euros per season.
The FIA issued its response to Ferrari's stance on Tuesday, suggesting that it was not its responsibility to back down simply because teams were unhappy about action that could be taken to shore up the sport's future.
The FIA statement said: "The FIA has noted the press statement issued by the Ferrari Board of Directors.
"It seems the Ferrari Board were misinformed. The FIA has offered the teams three options, one of which is the so-called standard engine, and another that the manufacturers should jointly guarantee to supply power trains to the independent teams for less than €5m per season.
"The FIA is delighted by Ferrari's financial success and hopes this will be maintained. However a number of teams find themselves facing costs which greatly exceed income. This is not sustainable.
"It is now for the manufacturers to agree one of the three FIA options or themselves produce concrete proposals to reduce costs to a sustainable level."
Although clearly hoping that the teams can come up with a proposal that satisfies it, the FIA has made it clear that it will take whatever action is necessary to ensure the survival of the all teams – even if it means a standard engine.
Referring to the consequences of the teams not agreeing on one of the two alternative options, the FIA said: "If neither happens. The FIA will take whatever measures prove necessary to preserve a credible world championship for both drivers and constructors."
Discussions between the Formula One Teams' Association (FOTA) and FIA president Max Mosley in Geneva last week resulted in plans for a customer power plant deal being discussed – although at a cost of 10 million Euros per season.