It is now over. After months of speculation and the very real threat of a breakaway series, the FIA has come to a compromise with FOTA. There will be only one Formula One World Championship next year, though the full, definite list of entrants now has to be redone. It shouldn’t look much different than the one that was released a few weeks ago, with the exception that there will not be asterisks next to five of the teams.
The two sides found an agreement that worked for both of them after talks between FOTA chairman and Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo and Max Mosley went long into the night Tuesday and early into the morning Wednesday, and before a meeting at the World Motor Sport Council in Paris. Although there are no details about the cost reduction, there was still a big plus for the teams. They got Max Mosley to end his bid for re-election in the fall for President of the FIA. The most likely candidate to take over his spot is Jean Todt, the former World Rally co-driver and Ferrari Formula One team principal. “There will be no split,” Mosley said. “We have agreed to a reduction of costs.” The objective for the sport is to get the spending levels down to what they were in the early 1990s within two years. I am not sure what the figures for spending were for back then (as I was only about six or seven) but I’m sure that someone will have those figures soon.
So what does this mean? Essentially, it means a grid full of happy participants who are going to work hard to make sure that they are at the forefront of innovation in open wheeled racing. And I know it is a good thing that there won’t be a split because the costs will be lower (but not outrageously so) and Mosley won’t be there to always look over the teams’ back and make sure there is always some sort of conflict. Also, it is good for the fan base as they won’t have to split their allegiance to one series or another. All in all, I think that the teams came out of this looking fairly clean, while the FIA can lick their wounds knowing that they did all they could under the pressure of the fans, the teams and the car manufacturers. In the end I believe that Max did the right thing and that F1 will be better off for it in the long run.
It has been confirmed that all of the ten teams from this season, plus the three newcomers are in the F1 Championship for next season. The full statement can be found here, but in essence, it states that the rules are the same as this season, costs will be reduced to 1990s levels by 2011, technical assistance will be provided for the new entrants by the manufacturers and the Concorde Agreement will be updated and provide for the governance of the sport. All in all, this seems like a good result and now we just have to wait another two and a half weeks until the next race in Germany where peace and Red Bull will prevail…followed closely by Brawn.