Trulli fears FOTA teams could walk away

Sunday 7th June 2009

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Trulli fears FOTA teams could walk away

Trulli fears FOTA teams could walk away

Jarno Trulli has warned the Formula One Teams' Association will split from the sport unless something gives in the budget cap row with FIA President Max Mosley this week.

Trulli hammered out the message following a meeting of both team principals and drivers of the eight remaining FOTA members ahead of today's Turkish Grand Prix.

Given all the speculation surrounding the future of F1, the team bosses felt it vital to keep their main assets, including their reserves, in the loop.

The meeting, in Toyota's motorhome in the paddock at the Istanbul Otodrom, comes just five days ahead of the FIA's confirmation of the 13 teams due to compete in F1 next season.

That is when the F1 world will know whether the block bid from Ferrari, Toyota, Renault, BMW, McLaren, Red Bull Racing, Toro Rosso and Brawn GP has been accepted or rejected.

Despite the block nature of the entry, it is understood the FIA could decide to split FOTA further by granting some teams a place and keeping others out.

It is all highly political, but after Toyota Motorsport President John Howett confirmed on Friday the FOTA had discussed a breakaway series as "a worst-case scenario", now one of his drivers has made it clear such a threat is a possibility.

Speaking after the drivers had met with the bosses for 25 minutes, Trulli confirmed: "I know that in the next week something should budge, must move, otherwise there will inevitably be a split.

"But at the moment we have to wait and see because FOTA want to reach a solution together with the federation.

"However, all of us drivers understand very well which is the right side to be on."

Trulli, one of F1's senior drivers, added: "The rules are not clear.

"In fact there are various rules to be defined, and all the drivers have the same feeling, to follow FOTA and respect the work they are doing on the rules and the running of Formula One in a serious way for the future.

"Mosley must understand there are some things that cannot happen.

"The rules for 2010 are not good because Formula One must remain the number one sport in the world, with great technology and with the manufacturers.

"You can't try and bring in other teams that maybe have never had any idea about what it takes to compete in such a high level.

"With the rules we are completely out. They are inadequate and we (the drivers) share the same vision as FOTA."

Mosley has been determined to cut costs and attract fresh blood, with 11 prospective new entrants having submitted a bid to compete under a £40million budget cap.

The FOTA, that now excludes Williams and Force India after they submitted unconditional entries, are willing to sign up through to 2012.

However, they are demanding this year's regulations are in place for next season as they continue down their own path to cut costs, whilst they are also looking for a re-signing of the Concorde Agreement, a confidential commercial document governing the sport.

As far as Renault's double World Champion Fernando Alonso is concerned, if the FIA exclude the current major manufacturers, F1 will not be a sport he will want to compete in.

"I prefer to race in any other category before the new F1," stated Alonso.

"A model similar to GP2 or F3 is not interesting for any driver, sponsor, circuit or television network. In that case it would be a category without any sense.

"The teams have done their maximum: they have signed up for the 2010 Championship.

"But you cannot suddenly move from a budget of 500 million (euros) to one of 45 million a year.

"It's possible in three years, which is what the teams are proposing. But it's impossible for them to do more. Now the ball is in the FIA's court.

"If the manufacturers cannot sign up for F1 and they organise a parallel Championship, that would be the most interesting.

"Then you would see the technology and the fastest cars in the world and, in the end, that's where the drivers want to be."

Spa, Spa, Glorious Spa

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