Mike Stevens | Jun 15, 2009

THE THREAT of a breakaway elite racing championship has inched ever-closer after the European Automobile Manufacturers Association entered the Formula 1 budget cap row in defence of its members.

In a statement, the Association (ACEA) slammed FIA President Max Mosley’s governance of Formula 1, expressing its support for calls of a complete overhaul aimed at slashing the Briton’s ability to make unilateral decisions without consulting stakeholders.

“Today, the members of the Board of the European Automobile Manufacturer's Association discussed the current situation prevailing in Formula 1, and have concluded that the current governance system cannot continue,” the statement read.

"ACEA has come to the conclusion that the FIA needs a modernised and transparent governance system and processes, including the revision of its constitution, to ensure the voice of its members, worldwide motorsport competitors and motorists are properly reflected.”

The ACEA also announced its wish for the custodians of Formula 1 – CVC Capital Partners and Bernie Ecclestone – to increase the level of funds distributed among teams participating in the world championship.

The organisation proceeded to announce its support for the formation of a Formula One Teams Association-led breakaway series, which would seek to rectify and eliminate the perceived problems plaguing F1.

The statement continued: "The ACEA members support the activities and objectives of the Formula One Teams' Association to establish stable governance, clear and transparent rules which are common to all competitors to achieve cost reductions including a proper attribution of revenues to the F1 teams, in order to deliver a sustainable attractive sport for the worldwide public.

"Unless these objectives are met, the BMW, Ferrari, Mercedes, Renault and Toyota along with the other teams are determined to find an alternative way to practice this sport in a manner which provides clarity, certainty of rules and administration, and a fair allocation of revenues to the competing teams.”

Ferrari's Kimi Raikonen during Qualifying at the 2009 Spanish F1 Grand Prix.
Ferrari's Kimi Raikonen during Qualifying at the 2009 Spanish F1 Grand Prix.

ACEA’s claims received further weight after Ferrari and FOTA President Luca di Montezemolo said the FIA would have to decide between commencing a reform of the sport or a split at the elite level.

Di Montezemolo’s anger at the FIA increased over the weekend after the governing body entered Ferrari – in addition to Red Bull and Toro Rosso - in the 2010 championship as an unconditional entrant despite its wishes.

The FIA believes Ferrari and the Red Bull duo are contractually bound to participate until 2012, while the teams believe the rule changes nullify any agreements.

“In a couple of years the problem with Formula 1 will be solved - as I really hope, with a responsible FIA, as we want, or, as happens in other sports, organising our own championship. Because when you have engines, gearboxes, brands, technology, organisation, capability to invest, it is not difficult. So the problem will be solved, I hope very soon,” he said during the Le Mans weekend.

"We want not only to maintain but also to improve the F1 DNA, technology, innovation, and competition. We want to cap in a very important way the cost, because everybody has been too far, and I think FOTA has done a strong demonstration to be able to cut costs in 2009 for 50 per cent more of the general cost for engine and gearbox.

"We will continue in this direction. We are together and we want to find a solution, and I am sure that inside the FIA there will be people responsible enough to understand that now it is absolutely necessary not to create trouble, to destroy Formula 1, but to solve the problem," Mr di Montezemolo said.

The FIA awarded conditional entries for next year to all FOTA members excluding Ferrari, Red Bull and Toro Rosso, while the places of Williams and Force India were also confirmed.

A bigger shock though surrounded the confirmation of the three new outfits set to enter the sport, with established names Lola and Prodrive snubbed.

Australian Peter Windsor’s entry Team USF1 received the go-ahead, while the Dallara-backed Campos Grand Prix and surprise packets Manor Grand Prix received the final spots on the grid.

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