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Mosley sets his sights on Ferrari

NEWS STORY
01/05/2009

Having clearly got McLaren where he wants them, Max Mosley is now firmly setting his sights on Ferrari.

Whether it be the new found love-in between the FIA and McLaren, or simply the fact that Mosley has the Woking outfit by the 'short and curlies' after it addressed the prerequisite "change in culture", the fact is that team boss Woking boss Martin Whitmarsh wasted no time yesterday in giving his thumbs up to much of the proposed budget cap for 2010 and beyond. Likewise Frank Williams.

However, there was no such rush to endorse Mosley's proposals from Maranello, where a firm "no comment" was the order of the day.

Clearly rattled by the Formula One Teams' Association's apparent unity, Mosley and Ecclestone have been hard at work in recent months, each looking for the slightest chink in the armour, the slightest sign that a team might be won over.

It was the defection of Ferrari that scuppered the last serious attempt by the teams to gain the upper hand in F1, and now, possibly feeling that by playing such a leading role in FOTA the Maranello outfit has betrayed him, or simply knowing that (off-track) Ferrari leads and the others follow, Mosley is looking set to take on the Italian company head-on.

Ahead of this week's WMSC meeting, Ferrari (and FOTA) President Luca di Montezemolo wrote to Mosley, claiming that the teams had not been given sufficient time to react to the planned budget cap proposal. He also warned that, based on what the FIA has proposed thus far, F1 could end up as a two-tier series, a fear expressed by both Whitmarsh and Williams.

However, in a move which will have brought a smile to Mosley's face, in the letter - which was subsequently leaked to the press - di Montezemolo refers to the special position that Ferrari enjoys in F1 pointing to the "guaranteed" and "additional rights" established in 2005 between Mosley and (then) team boss Jean Todt.

Allowing the media, and thereby the great unwashed, access to Ferrari's claim is a typically shrewd move, for it paints the Italian team in a very bad light, effectively portraying them as a spoiled brat hissing and spitting because it can't get its own way... again.

However, Mosley follows up with his own letter, which, conveniently, also makes its way into the hands of the media.

"We cannot just sit and wait, hoping nothing bad will happen," Mosley writes, according to The Times. "We have already lost one manufacturer. Despite my repeated requests, not a single manufacturer has given us a legally binding undertaking that it will continue in Formula One. We already know that current levels of expenditure are unsustainable for the independent teams. If we are to reduce the risk of the Formula One World Championship collapsing, we have to allow new teams in. We also have to reduce costs drastically."

With FOTA meeting next Wednesday it will be interesting to see how well Mosley's manoeuvring is working, however, based on previous experience few would bet against the FIA President.

Meanwhile, Ecclestone, his partner in crime, their relationship firmly re-established following that Chelsea dungeon interruption, persists with plan B.

Despite the foot-stamping and harrumphing it looks as though the deadly duo will get their way, as they always do eventually, one way or another.

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