New regulations still a concern
ISTANBUL -- Formula One drivers held talks with the Formula One Teams Association on Sunday amid rising tension and uncertainty over the regulations for 2010.
Only Williams' Nico Rosberg and Kazuki Nakajima and Force India's Giancarlo Fisichella and Adrian Sutil were absent from the meeting before the start of the Turkish Grand Prix won by Jenson Button. FOTA has suspended the two teams for lodging entries for next season's championship.
The other eight F1 teams lodged only conditional entries, contingent upon officials giving ground on a voluntary $60 million budget cap to be introduced next season. The FIA is set to list the 13 teams that will compete in the 2010 championship on Friday.
FIA president Max Mosley has so far rebuffed the teams' suggestions, which include signing a new governing accord that would keep teams in the sport through 2012.
Ferrari driver Felipe Massa called the entire standoff "ridiculous."
"It's a nightmare what's happening with this fight. We wanted to know as drivers and we wanted to give our opinion," the Brazilian said on Sunday. "If we do what Mr. Mosley wants we won't be on the top of motorsport."
Two-time world champion Fernando Alonso of Renault firmly backed his team's unwillingness to commit to the new rules, a position widely shared among F1's drivers.
"I prefer any other category to the new F1," the Spaniard said. "A similar model to [feeder series] GP2 or Formula Three is not interesting for any pilot, any sponsor, circuit or TV. In this case, it would be a totally senseless category."
The FIA said teams that sign up for the new cap will receive greater technical freedom than those who don't, which FOTA believes will create a two-tier system.
The eight teams yet to commit for 2010, including Ferrari, have threatened to pull out of the sport. There are at least 10 new teams waiting up to take their place.
BMW Sauber motor sports director Mario Theissen wasn't sure that a solution would come by Friday.
"It is worrying me that we haven't resolved the situation so far," Theissen said. "It is an important week but I also think it will take more than one week to resolve everything."
FOTA has said a breakaway series was on the table in a "worst case scenario."
"If Formula One is not possible because it's not Formula One any more, than we'll go to another championship," Massa said.
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press
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