As this is written, exactly three years have passed since the Max Mosley-led FIA World Motorsport Council approved the concept of a budget cap for Formula 1, in the process hoping to force the then 10 teams to reduce expenditure by offering them the opportunity of signing up to a voluntary £30million annual cap in exchange for greater technical freedoms than others.
At the time the governing body stated: 'These regulations will not affect the established teams which now have stable backing from [five] major car manufacturers, but will enable new teams to fill existing vacancies on the grid for 2010, and make it less likely that any team will be forced to leave the championship'.
F1 was at the time in major turmoil: the Silverstone breakaway; fuelled by massive opposition to the concept, was just three months away, while little did Mosley know then he had just six months left at the helm. There remains no doubt that the WMSC meeting on March 17, 2009 dramatically changed the face of the sport and, ultimately, its governance.
BMW, Toyota and Bridgestone exited (or gave notice of leaving) within 12 months, while the grid was opened to 13 teams, and a wholly-revised Concorde Agreement, the document that binds F1's primary players, was eventually signed in September - 18 months after the previous covenant expired, but only after acrimonious negotiations stretching back five years.
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South African-born Dieter trained as industrial engineer before holding down a variety of senior motor industry marketing and manufacturing positions. At the age of 40 he decided to follow his passion, and became the first and only South African journalist to cover Formula 1 regularly. Dieter joined AtlasF1 at the beginning of 2004 – a year prior to its merger with Autosport – and his regular column offers an intriguing analysis of F1’s politicking and commercial chicanery. Although now also proudly Belgian, he gives his domicile as "Wherever F1 duplicity lurks".@RacingLines More features by Dieter Rencken