Is Mosley preparing to deliver a killer blow to FOTA teams?


In the days leading up to the 2010 entry deadline, and ever since, the silence from the FIA has been deafening. Is it because Max Mosley is preparing to deliver a killer blow to F1 on June 12?

On Saturday, in the wake of the announcement that the nine remaining FOTA teams had submitted conditional entries for the 2010 World Championship, Pitpass was contacted by a motorsport insider understood to be on the verge of submitting his own entry.

The individual asked why Pitpass, indeed, no other section of the media, had not addressed the "fact that FOTA's conditional entry is illegal under FIA rules".

"You cannot enter based on a demand," the individual continued. "Furthermore, the entries period is run under the 40m cap rules."

Pitpass immediately contacted a respected F1 insider, who has long experience of such matters. Asked about the claim that established teams' conditional entry is illegal, he replied: "The FOTA teams have not entered the World Championship in accordance with the regulations. Therefore, the only teams that are now officially entered are Ferrari (because of its contract with the FIA, which lasts through until 2012), Williams, because it broke ranks and signed, and those new teams that submitted entries by the May 29 deadline.

"With the exception of Ferrari and Williams, all the other existing F1 teams have put their franchises at risk by submitting a conditional joint entry," he continued. "The consequences of all this will become clear on June 12, when the FIA is scheduled to publish the 2010 Formula One World Championship entry list."

According to our source, at that time; "F1 will experience the biggest single shock in its entire history".

Meanwhile, when contacted by editor, Chris Balfe, Pitpass' business editor, Chris Sylt, revealed that he had already been looking at the legal implications of Friday's announcement.

In a nutshell, Sylt believes that the FOTA teams have not submitted valid entries, for with the conditions attached this seems be legally impossible.

"They may think that they have submitted valid entries," said Sylt, "but, in fact, the entries they have submitted will either legally bind them to the 2010 Championship according to the existing regulations (budget cap and all) without conditions or their entries are invalid and therefore the FOTA teams have not lodged any entry for next year. I think that the latter is the most likely."

In order to lodge an entry for the 2010 World Championship, the teams have to fill in and sign an FIA entry form. This requirement is written into the 2010 Sporting Regulations:


13.1 Applications to compete in the Championship may be submitted to the FIA during the period 22-29 May 2009 inclusive on an entry form as set out in Appendix 2 hereto accompanied by an undertaking to pay the entry fee of €309,000 (three hundred and nine thousand Euros) to the FIA no later than 1 November 2009.

Applications at other times will only be considered if a place is available and on payment of a late entry fee to be fixed by the FIA. Entry forms will be made available by the FIA who will notify the applicant of the result of the application within thirty days of its receipt. Successful applicants are automatically entered in all Events of the Championship and will be the only competitors at Events.

13.5 All applications will be studied by the FIA and accepted or rejected in its absolute discretion. The FIA will publish the list of cars and drivers accepted together with their race numbers on 12 June 2009, having first notified unsuccessful applicants as set out in Article 13.1. Out-of-time applications will be considered separately.

The entry form itself is even written into the Sporting Code and can be found lower down at Appendix 2. Amongst other things, any team signing the form commits to the following:

"We confirm that we have read and understand the provisions of the International Sporting Code, the 2010 Formula One Technical Regulations and the 2010 Formula One Sporting Regulations. We agree to be bound by them (as supplemented or amended) and further we agree on our own behalf and on behalf of everyone associated with our participation in the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship to observe them."

The crucial issue with all this is that if the FOTA teams have modified the entry form in any way to add their conditions, they will have invalidated it unless the FIA agreed to the changes (which clearly it hasn't otherwise the conditions would not be needed - they would be written in already!). The reason that FOTA would have invalidated the form is that it is directly written in to the Sporting Regulations and so changes to the Regulations would need to be approved by the World Council.

If the FOTA teams have made no changes to the form but have just signed it and attached a separate document with their conditions, they are committing themselves to the regulations proposed by the FIA. There are two reasons for this. The first is that there is no provision in the Sporting Regulations for the FIA to accept entries with conditions so there would be no need for the FIA to even read any attached FOTA document. The second point is that by signing the entry form, the FOTA teams would be committing themselves legally to its contents (the 2010 Sporting Regulations complete with the budget cap).

The only other option is that the FOTA teams have not actually signed the entry form but in that case they would obviously not be committed to the Championship next year.

In summary, either:

1. The FOTA teams have modified the entry form to include their conditions. If this is the case their entry is invalid since the form is written into the Sporting Regulations and so changes to it need to be approved by the FIA.

2. The FOTA teams have signed the entry form without making any changes to it but have written their conditions on another document which was also sent to the FIA with the form. If this is the case then their entry binds them to enter the 2010 Championship under the FIA's proposed Regulations (including the budget cap).

3. The FOTA teams have sent their conditions to the FIA on a document but have not yet signed the entry form. If this is the case then they have missed the deadline to enter the 2010 Championship.

"My personal hunch, but I have no evidence for this," adds Sylt, "is that the teams have made changes to the form thereby invalidating their entry. I think this because if they had signed the form and attached a separate document with their conditions they would have committed themselves to the FIA's proposed Regulations and I would have thought the FIA would have pointed this out by now."

However, Sylt then refers to the Q&A with Stefano Domenicali in which the Ferrari team boss bluntly says that if the conditions are not met the entry will be invalid. "In other words, if the FIA agrees with the conditions, which it won't," says Sylt, "it won't matter that they have been inserted by the FOTA teams.

"If the FIA does concede to FOTA's conditions they would then become part of the Sporting Regulations," he continues. "This would make FOTA's entries valid but the non-FOTA teams would no longer have valid entries! This is because the non-FOTA teams have made entries for the Championship using the Regulations without the FOTA changes. The non-FOTA teams would have the law on their side because they filed their entries first and so an entry filed at a later stage should not affect their terms."

The continued silence from the FIA, not to mention Max Mosley's track record when it comes to dealing with those who dare to take him on, suggests that we could well be in for an event of seismic proportions on June 12.

Article from Pitpass (

Published: 31/05/2009
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