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Page last updated at 16:45 GMT, Tuesday, 19 May 2009 17:45 UK

F1 chiefs stay firm on budget cap

In-depth interview - Max Mosley

Formula 1 teams and governing body the FIA have failed to emerge with a concrete solution to the ongoing budget cap row after a day of talks on Friday.

The teams met FIA president Max Mosley and F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone over the plan to introduce an optional £40m cap.

Mosley insisted there would still be "no compromise" on the cap, though it was at least agreed the idea of a two-tier championship was not acceptable.

Ferrari, meanwhile, filed an injunction to block the proposed budget cap.

A French court will deliver its verdict on Wednesday.

The Italian giants, the longest-running team in Formula 1, joined Toyota, Red Bull and Renault in threatening to pull out of the sport if the regulation changes were enforced, as planned, from the 2010 season earlier this week.

No two-tier system - Ecclestone

The FIA want an optional £40m budget cap in order to encourage new teams to enter, with those teams operating under the budget allowed far greater technical freedom than those continuing with unlimited funds.

Mosley believes that the injunction Ferrari have submitted in a bid to prevent the cap being enforced is a sign that they do not want to go through with their threat to quit the sport.

"I'd be very surprised in the end if they do (leave)," said Mosley as he emerged from the meeting in London, though he added that "when people start bringing proceedings it becomes very difficult to negotiate with them".

Mosley, who described the meeting as friendly, also told BBC Sport that the 29 May deadline, though still in place, could potentially prove flexible as teams need not determine their participation until later in the summer if - as expected - F1 fails to fill all the places on the grid by the end of this month.

"We had an interesting meeting and exchange of views but nothing concrete has come out of it," he said.

"I think there will be further developments. The teams have gone off to see if they can come up with something better than the cost cap and we will be happy to listen to what they have to say.

F1 MOLE BLOG

"But what we have said to them is that it's really not possible, if you are going to dramatically reduce the costs, to do anything better than a cost cut. We think that when they think about it when they consider it properly they will come back and agree."

And he added to BBC sports editor Mihir Bose: "There will certainly not be a two-tier championship and almost certainly an exchange of information between the teams, but I'd be very reluctant to increase the budget cap above £40m because I think that would discourage new teams from entering.

"I think we are clear that everybody wants to race under the same regulations, but we do need to get the costs down - the teams all agree on that - it's a question of how much and how."

F1 supremo Ecclestone, speaking after the meeting, said: "I think the most important thing that upset everybody is the two-tier technical system, and I think it's been agreed that we shouldn't have that, we should just have one set of regulations," he said.

"I think everybody is more or less happy with the budget cap, it's just a case of how much. I don't know if that means it will be higher or lower, it's a case of sorting that out."

The noises coming out of the meeting was that an agreement can be found. If the FIA can go back on a two-tier championship then there is still some movement to be had

BBC Sport's F1 pit lane reporter Ted Kravitz

And BBC Sport's F1 pit lane reporter Ted Kravitz believes a resolution is closer, saying: "The noises coming out of the meeting was that an agreement can be found. If the FIA can go back on a two-tier championship then there is still some movement to be had."

However, Mosley added that a concrete resolution was still a way off, admitting: "The teams haven't yet agreed on the principle of a budget cap, never mind a figure so there is still quite a big difference (between the FIA and the teams).

"It is a little bit sad because you would think that rational human beings could sit down and agree on a principle. Don't forget that last year all the cost-cutting regulations were agreed with all the teams, except for one.

"The disagreement then was about the figure - well now they are not arguing so much about the figure but about the cost cap itself so it's actually more of an artificial problem than a real problem in my opinion."

BBC's F1 correspondent David Croft reports: "For the teams, racing under a budget cap is just not on - they cannot do it they say. To raise the budget cap even further discourages new teams from entering F1 and that's the stand off we have at the moment.

"Max Mosley and the teams are trying to cut costs, but it's how that is done that will take a long time to sort out."

However, 69-year-old Mosley remains optimistic the sport will survive this row, saying: "I think this will end up probably being a storm in a tea cup - and things will continue.

The budget cap is prudent, considering the backdrop of global economics

A Lola statement

"The suggestion that there is a crisis is misconceived because there is no crisis until Melbourne 2010, that's a long way away, we are not talking about Monaco next week we are talking about 2010."

Speaking before the meeting, Renault boss Flavio Briatore was adamant that "the rules should be written by us (the teams)" rather than imposed from above by the FIA.

"They can't be imposed by Max without him speaking to anyone. That's an unacceptable way to work."

Domenicali insists F1 teams are united

Briatore stressed that the teams angered at the new rules were not seeking to form a breakaway championship but wanted to give their views regarding an alternative solution.

Williams chief executive Adam Parr, meanwhile, warned that "time is running out," while adding that Williams stood by its support of the budget cap.

And former Formula 1 outfit Lola, which indicated its intention to return to the grid in 2010, are fully backing the FIA's proposed revamp.

"The budget cap is prudent, considering the backdrop of global economics," read a team statement. "It also takes into account the need for new teams to be able to compete credibly against established entrants."



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see also
Quit threat is no bluff - Ferrari
14 May 09 |  Formula 1
Lola move closer to F1 comeback
15 May 09 |  Formula 1
Renault join F1 pull-out threat
13 May 09 |  Formula 1
Ferrari issue F1 quit ultimatum
12 May 09 |  Formula 1
Toyota threaten pull-out from F1
10 May 09 |  Formula 1
Wary Raikkonen ponders F1 future
09 May 09 |  Formula 1


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