FEBRUARY 3, 2006
Off we go again
In cowboy movies, things can sometimes get to be too quiet and it has been like that for several months in Formula 1 politics. This was convenient for Max Mosley as it allowed him to get re-elected as FIA President without any trouble but the hope that things would move towards a sensible compromise always seemed a little unrealistic given the levels of distrust and distaste last summer at the height of the fighting. Now the battle is on again with Max Mosley suggesting to The Evening Standard newspaper that "I believe it would be entirely reasonable to offer the manufacturers that join the Formula 1 World Championship no income".
Ferrari, Williams, Red Bull, Toro Rosso and Midland have already signed extensions of the Concorde Agreement until 2012. All of them apart from Ferrari are independent teams and last week Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo tried to define Ferrari as an independent operation because it no longer receives financial help from parent company FIAT. Renault, Toyota, Honda, Mercedes-Benz and BMW have yet to sign up to the extension of the Concorde Agreement and now it seems Mosley is suggesting that they should do so without getting a share of the money.
The reaction from the Grand Prix Manufacturers' Association (the members of which are the five manufacturers) was swift.
"In view of the EU ruling on the role of the governing body, we are surprised by Mr Mosley's comments," the GPMA said. "GPMA remains committed to its strategy and will continue discussions with the commercial rights holder."
The EU ruling mentioned came out several years ago and allowed the FIA to continue in its role on the understanding that it did not dabble in financial matters. Max Mosley will no doubt say that his remark was a personal opinion rather than official comment.
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