Only an 11th hour compromise by Super Aguri and Scuderia Toro Rosso may be enough to prevent an official protest over customer cars being launched at this weekend's Australian Grand Prix, autosport.com can reveal.
After weeks of discussions and arguments between the two teams and some of their rivals about whether they are allowed to run development versions of 'customer cars', the matter is set to reach a head in Melbourne this weekend.
With a solution between the parties still appearing a long way off, autosport.com understands that plans are being made for an official protest to be launched after qualifying on Saturday if the situation has not changed by then.
It is not clear exactly which teams will be behind the protest, but it is known that both Spyker and Williams have been the key outfits in insisting that Super Aguri and Scuderia Toro Rosso should not score championship points this season because they believe they have not built their own cars.
Several compromise settlements have been offered to the teams - including a sharing of television revenue or that teams running customer cars do not score championship points.
Spyker boss Colin Kolles refused to comment about whether he was involved in any plans to lodge a protest - but admitted that the matter would become clearer later this weekend.
"I have my opinions about this situation," he told autosport.com. "Let's wait until Saturday. After qualifying I can tell you more."
When asked about whether his mention of Saturday was a reference to a post-qualifying protest, he said: "This is your speculation. Everything has been said in the past. We have to wait until Saturday, but I would like to solve the problem before then."
Spyker and Williams claim that Super Aguri's development version of Honda's RA106 and Toro Rosso's version of Red Bull Racing's RB3 are in breach of the Concorde Agreement, which demands teams build their own car.
Section 3 of the Concorde Agreement, the document by which F1 is run, states: "A constructor is a person (including any incorporated or unincorporated body) who owns the intellectual property rights to the rolling chassis it currently races, and does not incorporate in such chassis any part designed or manufactured by any other constructor of F1 racing cars except for standard items of safety equipment, providing that nothing in the Schedule 3 shall prevent the use of an engine or gearbox manufactured by a person other than the constructor of the chassis."
And although it had previously been thought that the argument could only be settled in the courts, because the Concorde Agreement is a legal document, there are believed to be provisions in the FIA's regulations that govern a team's compliance with the Concorde Agreement.
The entry application to the 2007 Formula One world championship, for example, states that teams agree to be 'bound' by the Concorde Agreement.
A clause states: "We confirm that we have read and understand the provisions of the International Sporting Code, the 1998 Concorde Agreement (including its Schedules), the 2007 Formula One Technical Regulations and the 2007 Formula One Sporting Regulations.
"We agree to be bound by them (as supplemented or amended) and further we agree on our own behalf and on behalf of everyone associated with our participation in the 2007 FIA Formula One World Championship to observe them."
Both Toro Rosso and Super Aguri have insisted that they are doing nothing wrong with their car plans for this season, as they claim they own the intellectual property rights to the cars and are manufacturing them themselves.
Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost declined to comment when approached by autosport.com, but Super Aguri managing director Daniel Audetto said yesterday that if rivals wanted to protest they should go ahead.
"We know what we did, we know what we are doing and we know that we are completely legal," said Audetto. "So it is not our problem. The most important thing is that we want to respect the rules. We don't want to cheat. We don't want to go against the rules.
"They (Williams and Spyker) can do whatever they want. We cannot stop them to do it. They just do it. If they have something to complain about then they can just do it. Then we will see if they are right or they are wrong. But we are right."