Mike Stevens | Jun 21, 2009

MCLAREN TEAM PRINCIPAL Martin Whitmarsh has revealed that the Formula One Teams Association is prepared to accept applications from new teams to participate in its breakaway championship next season.

Whitmarsh confirmed FOTA had been approached by Formula 1 aspirants Lola and Prodrive on the possibility of joining the championship series after the duo were rejected by the FIA last week.

The Briton however said the championship would be able to survive with eight teams even if the early expressions of interest failed to bear fruit.

Questioned specifically on the prospect of Lola and Prodrive joining the championship, Whitmarsh said: "I think that certainly eight teams will be enough, but we would welcome any new teams or existing teams for that matter, and certainly there has been an expression of interest from some of the teams you mentioned.

"I think a lot of teams want to be racing against the Ferraris, against the Red Bulls, the Brawns and hopefully ourselves.”

With the recent Chinese and Turkish Grands Prix struggling to draw crowds, concerns have been raised over exorbitant costs of attending a Formula 1 event, with many claiming the interests of fans are often ignored.

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Whitmarsh said FOTA will seek to build a championship catering to fans, confirming an earlier statement that the organisation will offer “lower prices for spectators worldwide.”

“We are looking to the future of the sport, to seek, to build and develop it for the fans and everyone who is involved with it. We are looking to create stability,” he said.

“I think anyone who has looked on Formula One in recent years there has not been the stability that we should have.

“There hasn't been the clarity of what the championship should be for the fans. That is not pointing the finger at anyone. We have all been part of it.”

However, despite FOTA’s assertions, FIA President Max Mosley has remained defiant, dismissing the prospect of a breakaway championship as political manoeuvring.

Mosley believes the teams and the FIA will eventually reach an agreement as he doubts FOTA’s ability to raise finances necessary to create a rival series.

He told the BBC: "I don't take it as seriously as some people do because I know that it is all posturing and posing. It will all stop sometime between the beginning of 2010 and March 2010, the first race. All this will stop, it will all settle down and everyone will go racing."

FIA boss Max Mosley.
FIA boss Max Mosley.

But Mosley’s lack of concern over the breakaway championship hasn’t stopped the sport’s governing body from launching legal action to stop Ferrari from leaving the sport.

The FIA announced in a statement: “The actions of FOTA as a whole, and Ferrari in particular, amount to serious violations of law including wilful interference with contractual relations, direct breaches of Ferrari's legal obligations and a grave violation of competition law.”

Ferrari responded to confirmation of the FIA’s intention to take legal action by announcing it has already instigated civil proceedings at a court in Lausanne, Switzerland on Monday.

The case will test the vailidity of Ferrari’s contract and ultimately determine whether the FIA did indeed breach its agreement by changing the technical regulations for next season.

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