FOTA denies compromise deal is close
|By Jonathan Noble and Simon Strang||Sunday, June 21st 2009, 18:16 GMT|
Formula 1 teams have rejected suggestions that they are near to a compromise deal with the FIA over the future of the sport - as they insist they are wholly committed to their breakaway plans.
FIA president Max Mosley said at Silverstone on Sunday that he felt the teams and the governing body were 'very close' to a resolution that would avert the threat of a rival series in 2010.
But team principals have insisted that no progress has been made in their discussions with the FIA over the British Grand Prix weekend and in fact, AUTOSPORT understands that FOTA is planning to hold a meeting next Thursday to begin formal selection of championship promoters, technical regulations and a calendar.
Renault boss Flavio Briatore, who arrived at Silverstone on Sunday with Bernie Ecclestone and Max Mosley, reckons that the time for talking with the FIA was now over.
"We are using so many words, and now is enough," he told AUTOSPORT. "We have made our statement and this is very clear - that is it.
"We will have it [the breakaway championship] ready in the next few weeks. We have been planning for several weeks already. We want a Formula 1 championship organised by FOTA. There has been no change in the last two days. I do not want to make anymore statements."
Toyota F1 team president and FOTA vice-chairman John Howett said that initial feedback from fans suggested huge support for the new series - which had galvanized a belief among the teams that they were doing the right thing.
"I think if you look at the overwhelming support we have got from the public, ultimately now there has to be a fairly significant move from the federation," Howett told AUTOSPORT in reaction to Mosley's comments.
"Overall we have a clear position and I think we made numerous concessions to achieve some sort of compromise. Now, we have made the decision, and at the moment we are moving forwards very positively on that vector."
McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh, when asked about Mosley's suggestions a deal was close, said: "No, I don't think so. It is difficult to make progress on a Sunday when you are concentrating on going motor racing.
"I think obviously we have to see what happens in the coming few weeks but I think it is not a situation that we set out to achieve. We have got to make sure that we concentrate on keeping all of the teams together and making sure that we are racing together in the premier form of motor racing."
He added: "FOTA has a number of meetings next week and we've got to look at the process by which we appoint people who are selling the media, looking at the way in which we engage circuits. There has been a lot of interest in working with us, and given our situation we are obliged to go forward with those arrangements and that planning."
FOTA has chosen to schedule its get-together for Thursday because it is the day after the FIA's World Motor Sport Council meeting, where news of Mosley's future plans could be revealed.
Mosley had been expected to stand down when his term ends in October but there are mounting suggestions that he could stand for another term because of the current controversy in the sport.
News about the FIA's plans for legal action against the teams is also expected in the next few days, with perhaps a possibility the court threat will be held off if teams are willing to talk about finding a solution to the row.
Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner said it would be foolish of teams to totally ignore the FIA, if there was the chance of a deal being found.
"I don't think the door should ever be shut to discussions as long as they are constructive," he told AUTOSPORT. "If the president is prepared to do that then it is good news."