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Not again…

NEWS STORY
20/06/2009

After months of posturing, war finally broke out between FOTA and the FIA. Accounts of Thursday evening's events indicate that a four hour meeting of the teams' alliance at Enstone did not produce an 11th hour compromise.

Subsequently FOTA, released a statement indicating that its members Toro Rosso, Toyota, Renault, McLaren Mercedes, BMW Sauber, Scuderia Ferrari, Red Bull and Brawn GP, would not amend their conditional entries to participate in the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship and that FOTA would commence preparations for a new Championship. The FIA initially responded with a statement noting the FOTA press release before issuing a further statement, shortly after the day's second free practice session, revealing that it is to issue legal proceedings against the eight 'rebel' teams.

Given the timing of the legal threat - following the close of track activities on Friday at Silverstone - Pitpass fears what might come next, particularly in light of the 2005 United States Grand Prix.

That event devolved into a farce with only six starters after attempts by teams running Michelin tyres to reach a compromise concerning the safety of their tyres were rejected by the FIA.

We can now reveal that just 50 minutes before the scheduled start of that race Pitpass contacted an FIA spokesperson and asked what was happening. The reply was short and sweet… "F***ed if I know", followed by laughter. Despite two commissioned fan surveys, Pitpass continues to wonder just how seriously the FIA consider the sport's fans.

Until this weekend, when Max Mosley appears to be seeking a stint as 'good cop', at least in the eyes of British race fans, the FIA has not made any secret of its disdain for Silverstone so it seems unlikely being the last F1 GP at the circuit would mitigate any action it might take. And the FIA has the perfect tool at its fingertips, Article 151c of the FIA International Sporting Code, which is popularly invoked as "Bringing the sport into disrepute" and which carries seemingly limitless and draconian summary penalties.

Should the FIA choose to judge the content of FOTA press release - a release which the FIA has signalled its intent to take legal action on the basis of - an infringement under article 151c, it is possible that all the teams named in the FOTA press release could be excluded from the grid at Silverstone. There certainly seems to be a relevant precedent that the FIA is more than prepared to favour the exertion of its authority over the desire or rights of the fans.

Let's just hope that whatever events unfold, the 2009 British GP does not eclipse the 2005 USGP as the most disrespectful betrayal of Formula One fans by the sport's governors.

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