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Toyota pondering F1 alternatives

Toyota Formula 1 boss John Howett
Howett's Toyota team have made a conditional entry to next season

Toyota's Formula 1 boss John Howett is considering a breakaway from the sport as the budget cap row rumbles on.

Max Mosley, president of governing body the FIA, told current teams this week they are free to leave the championship if they will not comply with new rules.

And Howett told Radio Five Live: "We are not looking for confrontation but we need a broad option plan and looking at alternative series has to be one."

Nine teams are seeking a compromise over a budget cap proposed for 2010.

It had seemed that an agreement was close after meetings between the teams and the FIA around the Monaco Grand Prix.

Mosley, together with commercial rights owner Bernie Ecclestone, had seemed close to a compromise after discussions with team principals in Monaco.

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Since then, the nine teams have made conditional entries to next season, requesting a more gradual and voluntary approach to cutting teams costs and a renewal of the Concorde Agreement that lays out their rights.

BMW Sauber boss Mario Theissen conceded that the row had reached a critical point but is refusing to look beyond 12 June, when the FIA confirms the teams for next season.

"We are really committed to finding a solution with the FIA to go forward together," he said.

"We have not had an official response from the FIA, and that's the next step.

"We will have to wait and see if we get one before 12 June. We are awaiting a reply, and only then we will decide what to do about it."

But Mosley's latest statement suggests a resolution may again be some way away.

"If you want to formulate your own rules, then you can organise your own championship," the FIA president told Swiss magazine Motorsport Aktuell.

"We now have a dispute and we will see who prevails.

"But we have the F1 championship. We draw up the rules for that, we have been doing that for 60 years and we will continue doing so."

The F1 Teams' Association (Fota) - representing Ferrari, McLaren, Toyota, Renault, BMW Sauber, Red Bull, Toro Rosso, Brawn GP and Force India - wants to reduce its costs over the next three years.

Mosley conceded some ground over the weekend of the Monaco Grand Prix, admitting that a 45m euro (£39.6m) cap may be phased in for 2011 with an intermediate stage next season.

But he has appeared to reject the possibility of resurrecting the Concorde agreement - the regulatory and contractual agreement between the FIA teams that lapsed in 2007 - before a deadline demanded by Fota.

"A Concorde Agreement received so late can't be signed by 12 June. There are 500 pages," he said.

Although Williams broke Fota ranks in May to sign up for next season, under new rules, a failure to reach an agreement with the rest of the body would deprive F1 of some of its most marketable names.

Max Mosley
Ten new teams have applied to the FIA to take part next season

"Mosley is in no mood to fully compromise on this matter and the wish to abandon cost-cutting for next year, something the Fota teams insist must happen for them to take part," said BBC F1 commentator David Croft.

"So the duel continues, the pistols are loaded and the two are starting to march the 12 paces.

"Potentially we have a full grid for next year, but for the fans is it still F1 without Ferrari, McLaren and co?"

Should some of this season's entrants fail to make it to the start line for next season, there could be a return to the sport for Brabham.

It is understood that German businessman Franz Hilmer has bought the rights to the name of one of the most prestigious F1 marques, which in 30 years of grand prix racing from 1962 to 1992 won two drivers' and four constructors' titles.

He attached the famous British name to the failed Super Aguri team, which withdrew from last year's championship as its funding dried up, and is willing to compete under the financial restrictions proposed by Mosley.

"The Brabham Grand Prix team has the pleasure to announce its application as a 'cost-cap F1 team' for the FIA 2010 F1 World Championship," a statement said.

"We appreciate the FIA rules for cost-capped F1 teams and are convinced that the budget limitation is a contemporary obligation."

However, the the family of three-time world champion Sir Jack Brabham - the oldest surviving F1 title-holder at the age of 83 - are considering taking legal action.

The nine other teams who have confirmed lodging an entry with the FIA are Prodrive, Lola, March, Litespeed, Epsilon Euskadi, US F1, Campos Meta1, Team Superfund, and N.Technology to give Mosley some ready-made, if less famous, replacements.



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see also
Williams suspended in sign-up row
27 May 09 |  Formula 1
F1 team chiefs seek new solution
26 May 09 |  Formula 1
Williams confirm F1 entry in 2010
25 May 09 |  Formula 1
F1 budget cap solution in sight
24 May 09 |  Formula 1
Mosley hopeful on budget cap agreement
24 May 09 |  Formula 1
In-depth interview - Max Mosley
15 May 09 |  Formula 1
Quit threat is no bluff - Ferrari
14 May 09 |  Formula 1
Toyota threaten pull-out from F1
10 May 09 |  Formula 1
Lola move closer to F1 comeback
15 May 09 |  Formula 1


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