Ferrari rocked the world of motor racing on Tuesday when the Italian Formula 1 giants announced they will not be entering a team for the 2010 world championships.
The decision is the result of a dispute with the sport’s governing body, the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), over proposed regulations to enforcing cost caps upon teams on the Grand Prix circuit. “Ferrari confirms its opposition to the new technical regulations adopted by the FIA and does not intend entering its cars in the 2010 F1 Championship,” the team said in a statement on its official Web site. The verdict not to enter F1 next season came at a meeting of Ferrari directors in Maranello, Italy — and they made it clear that only a change of rules will see them reverse the decision. Are Ferrari right to serve the FIA with an ultimatum Ferrari’s statement added: “The Board of Directors also examined developments related to recent decisions taken by the FIA during an extraordinary meeting of the World Motor Sport Council on 29 April 2009. “Although this meeting was originally called only to examine a disciplinary matter, the decisions taken mean that, for the first time ever in Formula 1, the 2010 season will see the introduction of two different sets of regulations based on arbitrary technical rules and economic parameters.
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“The Board considers that if this is the regulatory framework for Formula 1 in the future, then the reasons underlying Ferrari’s uninterrupted participation in the World Championship over the last 60 years — the only constructor to have taken part ever since its inception in 1950 — would come to a close. “The Board also expressed its disappointment about the methods adopted by the FIA in taking decisions of such a serious nature and its refusal to effectively reach an understanding with constructors and teams. “The rules of governance that have contributed to the development of Formula 1 over the last 25 years have been disregarded, as have the binding contractual obligations between Ferrari and the FIA itself regarding the stability of the regulations. “The same rules for all teams, stability of regulations, the continuity of the F1 Teams’ Association FOTA’s endeavours to methodically and progressively reduce costs, and governance of Formula 1 are the priorities for the future. If these indispensable principles are not respected and if the regulations adopted for 2010 will not change, then Ferrari does not intend to enter its cars in the next Formula 1 World Championship.” F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone told the Times newspaper that he did not envisage the Italian team carrying through it threat earlier in the week. “Ferrari are not stupid,” he said. “They don’t want to leave Formula 1 and we don’t want to lose them, so we’ll get to grips with it.” Ferrari’s favorite son Michael Schumacher, the seven-time world champion, was back in the pits in Barcelona at the weekend advising his former team ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix that saw the team’s current track frustrations continue. Felipe Massa was their only finisher in sixth place while team-mat Kimi Raikkonen also has only three points to show from the first five races, leaving Ferrari struggling seventh out of 10 teams in the Constructors championship. Kimi Raikkonen was their last world champion when he snatched the 2007 title from Lewis Hamilton’s grasp in the final race of the season. Jean Todt stepped down as team principal following that success and the 2008 campaign saw Ferrari driver Felipe Massa’s joy turn to despair after the championship again went down to the wire. Massa thought he had lifted the crown after winning his home Brazilian GP, but this time Hamilton triumphed after a last-gasp overtaking manoeuvre that saw him take fifth place for McLaren and the title. Ferrari have taken that title 16 times including the last two years. But their challenge shot to a new level after the 1996 hiring of twice world champion Schumacher from Benetton along with technical director Ross Brawn whose own team now dominates the F1 standings.