Ferrari displeased with budget cap idea

Updated: May 12, 2009, 3:40 PM ET
Associated Press

MILAN, Italy -- The storied Ferrari team threatened to not race in Formula One next season unless the sport's governing body revokes its new budget cap.

The Italian team, which has been involved in all 60 seasons of F1 competition, said Tuesday the new FIA guidelines were arbitrary and would set a double standard.

"The same rules for all teams, stability of regulations, the continuity of ... endeavors to methodically and progressively reduce costs, and governance of Formula One are priorities for the future," Ferrari said in a statement after a board meeting.

"If these indispensable principles are not respected, and if the regulations decided for 2010 will not change, Ferrari does not intend to enter its cars in the next Formula One world championship."

Ferrari said it hoped fans would understand this "painful choice."

FIA president Max Mosley has said the sport could survive without the Italian giant, although Formula One drivers have disagreed. The Formula One Teams Association has asked for urgent talks with the governing body over the budget cap.

Ferrari is one of F1's richest teams. It is also one of its most successful, with 15 drivers' and 16 constructors' championships. Kimi Raikkonen, in 2007, was the last Ferrari driver to win the title.

This season, Ferrari is off to its worst start. The team has only six points after five races, with Felipe Massa's sixth-place finish in Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix. He trails overall leader Jenson Button of Brawn GP by 38 points.

Ferrari has grown frustrated in recent years with what it sees as the autocratic leadership of Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone and Mosley.

"The board also expressed its disappointment about the methods adopted by the FIA in taking decisions of such a serious nature and its refusal to effectively reach an understanding with constructors and teams," the team said.

"The rules of governance that have contributed to the development of Formula One over the last 25 years have been disregarded, as have the binding contractual obligations between Ferrari and the FIA itself regarding the stability of the regulations."

Mosley is leading FIA's push to curb costs, with a voluntary $60 million budget cap made available to teams. Teams that don't adhere to the cap will not receive the same technical freedom, something Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has called "fundamentally unfair."

Ferrari fears the new rules will effectively split F1 into two tiers -- those that can live with the cap and enjoy the technical advantages and those that can't.

In the first quarter of 2009, Ferrari reported turnover of $600 million and a trading profit of $73 million.

Former team boss Eddie Jordan said Ferrari's reaction is a sign that it fears the new rules would prevent it from returning to the very top of the sport.

"What's happening is the rearguard is changing," he said. "The people that were traditionally at the front -- the McLarens and the Ferraris -- aren't fighting it out [at the front] and they don't like this.

"You've seen the emergence of new teams like Brawn, like Red Bull, and other teams that are getting to the front of the grid, and clearly the established teams don't like it."


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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