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Page last updated at 15:05 GMT, Friday, 19 June 2009 16:05 UK

FIA to sue over breakaway attempt

Jake Humphrey and Max Mosley

Defiant FIA boss Max Mosley remains convinced the row can be resolved

By Andrew Benson
BBC Sport at Silverstone

Max Mosley has rejected claims by eight of the 10 Formula 1 teams that they will set up a breakaway series next year as "posing and posturing".

President of governing body the FIA, Mosley said he will start legal action against teams umbrella group Fota.

But he added in an exclusive BBC Sport interview: "We all know that there will be an F1 world championship and everyone who can be in it, will be."

Red Bull boss Christian Horner said the two sides had reached a "stalemate".

Ferrari, McLaren, Red Bull, Toro Rosso, Toyota, Renault, Brawn and BMW Sauber issued their threat late on Thursday evening.

An FIA statement on Friday afternoon said Fota's actions amounted 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 statement added that the 2010 F1 entry list, which the FIA had planned to publish on Friday, would be "put on hold while the FIA asserts its legal rights".

That decision gives all parties room for manoeuvre as they search for a compromise on the issue.

"Always with these things in the end there's a compromise," Mosley said. "They can't afford not to run in F1 and we would be very reluctant to have an F1 world championship without them."


Mosley repeated his belief that some of the teams backed by road-car manufacturers might quit F1 over the winter - he has already named BMW, Renault and Toyota as the most vulnerable.

But he added: "The great traditional teams, and I include Ferrari in that, need to be there and they will be there.

"They can't get the backing they need to run in another series, so eventually they will come back. We have to leave the door a little bit open.

"At the moment we can't negotiate with them successfully because everything we offer is rejected, because their fundamental position is they want to take the financial side away from the commercial rights holder, Bernie Ecclestone, and they want to take the governance of the sport, the regulation, from us.

"That can't happen and it's not going to happen, and eventually they'll recognise that and everything will come together."

The row was provoked by Mosley's decision in April to introduce a £40m budget cap next year, but it also revolves around governance of the sport.

Mosley says the teams agreed to a cap last year - a claim Fota rejects - and insists that it is vital to the future health of the sport, which he says it not sustainable at current spending levels.

But the Fota teams reject his claim that they want to engage in a "spending arms race".

They say they, too, are committed to cost cuts, but they prefer to limit ways in which the teams can spend money.

The Fota teams also object to what they see as the autocratic way in which Mosley runs F1, and the way he has allowed the Concorde Agreement - which enshrined certain rights for the teams, including in rule-making - to lapse.

Bernie Ecclestone

Ecclestone denies knowledge of Fota statement

They also want what they consider to be a fairer split of the sport's profits and changes to the way the commercial side of F1 is run.

Mosley had invited the Fota teams to enter next year's championship and sort out their disagreements afterwards, but Horner said: "Entering with goodwill but no clarity, no guarantees, without those concrete compromises, [and] solutions in place, is an untenable position for the teams."

Mosley said he would consider resigning if that would solve the problem, but added: "That's not the issue."

"Whoever replaced me would defend the interests of the FIA because the championship belongs to them. The next person, they'd want his head until they got what they wanted. They're challenging the governing body of motorsport and that will not succeed.

"The difficulty they're putting me in is even if I wanted me to stop they're making it very difficulty for me to do so, because the people in the FIA are saying we've got all this trouble, we're being attacked, you must stay."

Ross Brawn, the boss of championship-leading Brawn GP, denied that the teams were working to remove Mosley.

"It's in no way a condition of the conditional entry the Fota teams have made," he said. "It's not something the Fota teams are pushing for or asking for. it has not entered discussions."

Mosley said he had made "concession after concession to accommodate them and they keep saying no."

He said he had reached an agreement with some teams, but "the others - what we call the loonies - tore it up.

"They simply won't talk about any progress and they pretend it's us.

"They say the FIA - or I - am dictating. That is not it at all. We are trying to get the thing in order."

Horner added: "A huge amount of effort has been made by the teams to try and find a compromise because we do have a duty of care to the employees, the fans, the sponsors, the public.

"The intention and effort was to try to find a compromise, a solution. The decisions that were made were not taken lightly. It's a difficult decision to make, but the conditions we put in have effectively been rejected and the teams reached a position where they feel they could go no further. Situations can change, but that's where we are."

Brawn added: "The teams' ambition is not to take over F1, but they have a massive investment in it. They want their investment protected."

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see also
F1 teams drop breakaway bombshell
19 Jun 09 |  Formula 1
Reaction to F1 breakaway threat
19 Jun 09 |  Formula 1
Formula 1 is 'finished' - Alonso
19 Jun 09 |  Formula 1
Why F1 future may spin out of control
19 Jun 09 |  Business

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