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F1 teams shun meeting
Alan Baldwin | January 29, 2005 10:55 IST
The rift between Ferrari and the rest of Formula One was laid bare on Friday when only the world champions turned up for a meeting to discuss rule changes and the sport's long-term future.
With nine of the 10 teams shunning the talks, Ferrari boss Jean Todt, technical director Ross Brawn and International Automobile Federation (FIA) president Max Mosley spent two hours deliberating alone.
Mosley said it had nonetheless been worthwhile and hoped the rest would attend another meeting scheduled for April 15 in Paris, if they were not still 'sulking'.
"I think there is an element of sulking at the moment," he told reporters. "It's a question of whether they are still sulking after Bahrain."
The nine, angered by Ferrari's refusal to restrict testing and decision to split with the carmaker group planning for a rival series from 2008, had wanted the meeting postponed until after the Bahrain Grand Prix on April 3.
Many also feel that the world body favours Ferrari, the only team to have raced in the championship since the beginning in 1950.
The London meeting was to discuss cost-cutting measures for 2008, and possibly earlier, which have to be set out this year under the terms of the existing 'Concorde Agreement' which expires at the end of 2007.
"We gleaned a great deal of useful information today, probably more than if we'd had the other teams here," said Mosley.
"It's much easier to talk to one team...and we were fortunate enough today to be able to talk to a team who have demonstrated that they have got a good understanding of Formula One, what it takes to be successful and also what it costs."
Mosley made clear that the FIA was free to lay down the law for 2008 and beyond.
"The FIA make the rules for 2008, that I think is very clear," he said. "The sooner we make them, the better it is for everybody. The earlier people know, the less money it costs to make any change.
"All we need do, and all we are doing, is consult the teams. We don't have to get their agreement. The meeting today was to consult them. Well, if they don't want to be consulted, that's fine."
He said a modified Concorde Agreement from 2008 to 2012 would be drawn up. Ferrari agreed an extension with the FIA and commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone last week.
The Briton said he was not at all concerned by the manufacturers' plans to set up their own Grand Prix World Championship or by the risk of the sport splitting in two.
"Not in the slightest, it's impossible to take it seriously," he said.
"At the moment it's very easy for people to huff and puff and take positions. In the end they will all be there...in 2008. It will all sort itself out."
Mosley said he and Ferrari had agreed several technical measures, such as standard brakes, but ruled out the radical idea put forward by one team to impose a cap on drivers' salaries and a maximum age limit for second drivers.
Ferrari made clear their continued opposition to proposed testing limits, arguing that they did nothing for small teams and should be based on mileage rather than the number of days.
Formula One: The Complete Coverage