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NOVEMBER 9, 2004

Ferrari unavailable for F1 team boss meeting

The Formula 1 team bosses meet in London today and Ferrari will not be with them. The meeting is designed to move ahead with attempts to cut costs in F1 but the ability to change things has been severely hampered by Ferrari's refusal to agree with the other teams. In order to change the rules for 2005 there needed to be unanimous agreement between the teams before November 1. This did not happen but that does not mean the battle is over because the teams can now go to the FIA Formula 1 Commission and can try to push through the changes by more conventional means. The F1 Commission decides the rules of Grand Prix racing. Its decisions must be verified by the FIA World Motor Sport Council but that body can only accept or reject the decisions of the F1 Commission and cannot alter its rulings.

There are currently 26 members of the Commission including one representative from each of the 10 teams which are signatories of the Concorde Agreement. There are two sponsor representatives, one tyre company representative, one representative from an engine manufacturer. In addition there are four promoters from European races and four promoters from events outside Europe. The final member of the commission is the commercial rights holder of Bernie Ecclestone.

The commission is presided over by FIA President Max Mosley.

The voting system is complicated but if nine teams are in agreement they will carry all the team votes and that is usually enough to carry the decision. Thus the teams can vote through a system to restrict testing and limit tyres to one supplier.

Ferrari has declined to attend today's meeting, citing a prior commitment. Team boss Jean Todt is infuriated by the actions of the other teams and fails to understand that there is a very real desire and need to cut costs. He, however, is standing firm, refusing to budge and appears to be willing to suffer the stigma of being seen to be damaging the sport. Ferrari refuses any reduction in testing because it has its own tracks in Italy and a special relationship with tyre maker Bridgestone. Todt says he is in favour of cutting costs but not attending the meeting is a very odd way of showing willingness.

What is more important to Ferrari than the future of Formula 1?