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Time to sit down and talk?

NEWS STORY
13/04/2005

Everyone knows that when you have a problem, be it a personal relationship, money or health worries, it won't sort itself out and go away. One has to deal with the problem, and in most cases this involves sitting down and discussing it.

Therefore, one cannot help but feel that should this Friday's meeting with Max Mosley go ahead, with just Ferrari in attendance, another golden opportunity will have been wasted.

Unless the ten teams and the FIA sit down, not only will the problems continue unchecked, they will get worse.

Today (Wednesday), many of the teams are in action at Paul Ricard, as a three-day test gets underway in preparation for the start of the European season. By the end of the week, McLaren, WilliamsF1, Renault and BAR will have used up more than one-third of their 30 day test 'allowance', with Toyota and Red Bull slowly catching up.

Ignoring the fact that Ferrari is already up to 18 days - including today - these teams, after just 3 races out of 19 - have already used up one-third of their 'allowance'. Do we really believe that as the season develops, and the 'allowance' is reached, these teams will simply give up and say; 'ok, we've used up our thirty days, the season's over'?

Of course not.

These teams exist to compete, not merely on the race-track, but also when it comes to sponsorship and the signing of established stars and upcoming talent. Each of these teams is out there to win, to beat its rivals, otherwise how do they justify their participation in F1 and the vast amount of money spent?

Talking to Pitpass today, the FIA's director of communications, Richard Woods, agreed that the only way forward is for the teams to talk.

"The FIA's only motivation is to create the appropriate forum for a consensus to develop," he said, in what sounded curiously like 'Ron-speak'.

"There is an open invitation," he added, "but it is up to them whether they wish to accept or not."

With regards Ferrari's attitude towards testing, a particular bone of contention with the nine 'rebel' teams, Woods said: "We are happy to mediate". However he was disappointed that some people seem determined to focus on the alleged polarisation within the sport.

Minardi boss Paul Stoddart, unofficial 'shop-steward' for the nine, has complained that if things stay as they are, with the 'three Fs' - the FIA, FOM and Ferrari - being the only ones to attend meetings, and seemingly colluding with regards the future of F1, the Italian team will be the only team to have a veto regarding the rules for 2008 onwards.

It is precisely for this reason that 'the nine' must give serious thought to the issue, for if Ferrari is the only team that attends the meetings, naturally it will be the only team to veto any new proposals put forward.

As for the testing agreement, all it needs is for one team to break rank, and that could happen in June or July as the season really hots up.

Although Woods refused to give anything away, we believe that, as previously reported, Red Bull and Jordan could attend the meeting, possibly with 'one other'.

We understand that the testing rules will be discussed on Friday, in addition to the qualifying format, however any changes to either would need unanimous support.

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