Motorsport's ruling body, the FIA, has announced it will be launching legal action against the Formula 1 teams trying to set up a breakaway championship.
The Formula One Teams' Association (FOTA) announced on Thursday night that, after failing to reach an agreement with the FIA, will start its own series next year.
But the governing body has responded to FOTA with a legal threat, saying the teams, and Ferrari in particular, have binding commitments that they cannot break.
The FIA also said that it will delay the publication of the 2010 entry list, expected tomorrow.
"The FIA's lawyers have now examined the FOTA threat to begin a breakaway series," said the FIA in a statement.
"The actions of FOTA as a whole, and Ferrari in particular, amount to serious violations of law including wilful interference with contractual relations, direct breaches of Ferrari's legal obligations and a grave violation of competition law.
"The FIA will be issuing legal proceedings without delay.
"Preparations for the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship continue but publication of the final 2010 entry list will be put on hold while the FIA asserts its legal rights."