FIA close to F1 peace21/06/2009 - 13:07:27
FIA president Max Mosley insists he is “very close” to an agreement with the Formula One Teams’ Association which could stave off the threat of legal action being launched tomorrow.
The prospect of a breakaway series being set up by the eight teams representing FOTA has accelerated the need for a deal to be agreed, otherwise the sport will be hauled through the courts.
After issuing legal proceedings against Ferrari, McLaren, Renault, BMW Sauber, Toyota, Brawn GP, Red Bull Racing and Toro Rosso on Friday, the FIA were due to formally serve their writ tomorrow.
But after arriving at Silverstone ahead of today’s British Grand Prix with F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone and Renault team principal Flavio Briatore via helicopter, Mosley spent most of the morning locked in talks with various team personnel.
“We are talking to people all the time. It will all be back to normal, it’s just a question of when,” said Mosley.
“We are very close. What divides us and the teams is minimal and really is something we could sit down and iron out very quickly.
“We have said to them we are ready to do this. Now it may take them a little time to get to the position where they want to, but when they do, we are ready.”
Asked if there was the potential for the writ not being issued, the 69-year-old added: “I think we would rather talk than litigate.”
The fact Mosley and Briatore flew in by air was a surprise in light of Mosley’s demeaning recent reference to the Italian, and others within FOTA, as “loonies.”
Unbecoming of his status as president, Mosley let his guard slip on Friday when he said: “You spend the whole day agreeing something with Red Bull, Brawn, Ferrari and Toyota.
“When they go back to the others, who are what we call the loonies, they tear it up.”
Asked to explain himself, Mosley did not retract his comment.
“The way that came about is we divide the teams into two camps – the moderates who want to talk and a settlement, and what we call the loonies, who appear not to want a settlement,” said Mosley.
“But it’s more of a jokey reference than anything else. I don’t think they are literally loonies, but I think they’re a little bit immoderate in their approach.”
Another figure Mosley would perhaps view as “immoderate” is Ferrari president and FOTA chairman Luca di Montezemolo who has vehemently campaigned against the introduction of a budget cap.
Although claiming to be close to di Montezemolo, Mosley insists he has to draw a line between business and personal relationships.
“Montezemolo and I have known each other nearly 40 years and I get along with him fine on a personal level,” insisted Mosley.
“Flavio is also great on a personal level, but obviously sometimes when you have something as complex as Formula One you can have disagreements about how things operate within the sport.
“But on a personal basis we’ve always got along fine. In fact, I came in this morning in Flavio’s helicopter!”
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