FIA president Max Mosley said Sunday that legal action against the eight Formula One teams planning a breakaway series will be halted to encourage reconciliation.
But in another twist to the standoff threatening to tear F1 apart, Mosley claimed that any rival championship would still have to be regulated by the International Automobile Federation (FIA).
That’s despite the fact that the teams say they are leaving F1 because talks with Mosley over their 2010 entry to the F1 world championship have collapsed over his plans for a 40 million pound (US$65 million) budget cap.
After the Formula One Teams Association announced the split Friday, motor sport’s governing body had said that proceedings would be issued without delay due to “serious violations of law.”
But Mosley told The Associated Press on Sunday: “There won’t be any writ. I think we would rather talk than litigate. We are very, very close as far as the facts are concerned. It’s just if the teams want to sit down and iron out the last few difficulties.”
While Mosley was claiming progress toward a solution, the eight breakaway teams – McLaren, Ferrari, Renault, BMW Sauber, Toyota, Brawn GP, Red Bull Racing and Toro Rosso – dismissed that notion.
Mosley recognizes the need for a swift resolution, echoing McLaren chief Martin Whitmarsh’s declaration on Saturday that any deal – which he says he doesn’t expect – must come by the end of July.
“I would agree with that,” Mosley said. “If this goes on for any length of time, it damages the teams. It doesn’t affect the FIA, it damages the teams because it affects their sponsors.”
What won’t assist the peace talks is Mosley referring to the more hardline FOTA members as “loonies” who are “immoderate in their approach.”
If the proposed series comes to fruition, Mosley said he has informed FOTA that the FIA would still be the rival championship’s ultimate regulator because of a deal struck between it and the European Commission.
“It’s absolutely correct, we said that to them,” Mosley said. “If they start a new series it would have to run under the sporting code and we would have to give them consent, providing it was safe and fair.”
That was acknowledged by Brawn team principal Ross Brawn.
“You would need a regulatory body,” Brawn said. “Ironically, I think the agreement with the European Commission is that the FIA has to offer to do that to any competitive series that wants to set up.
“So, the FIA have to offer to at least be the regulatory body, but they may not be the body that sets the rules. The rules can be determined by some other mechanism. If you want, the FIA can run the series for you. They can provide the stewards, the (scrutinizers) and things of that nature. So, that is available if FOTA wants to take it up.”
Brawn GP was created only a few weeks before the start of this season using the infrastructure of Honda, which pulled out of F1. Brawn GP’s Jenson Button tops the drivers’ standings and the team is also leading the constructors’ championship.
Brawn believes that smaller teams like his would need to receive help to compete in any new series.
“The FOTA organization, when the championship is created, will have to support the small teams,” Brawn said. “They know it can’t just exist on the manufacturers, so there has to be a structure that supports the small teams. So, I’m confident that that structure will be in place and will be able provide the funding that teams like mine need.”