THE ONGOING UNCERTAINTY surrounding Formula One has prompted Australian Grand Prix boss Ron Walker to call the future of the Albert Park event into question.
With talks between the Formula One Teamsâ€™ Association and FOTA at a stalemate, Walker has told Fairfax that the Australian Grand Prix Corporation would not be interested in hosting an event without Ferrari.
Walker cited decreased public interest and reduced television exposure that would result from Ferrariâ€™s potential absence - and the impact it would have on the Victorian Government's investment in hosting the race - as key reasons to reconsider Melbourneâ€™s staging of the event.
"If the disunity continues, Melbourne will seriously consider its position on continuing with Formula One,â€ he said. â€œWithout Ferrari racing in Melbourne (it) will lose much of its glamour and therefore the Government investment will come into question."
A renowned friend of Formula One commercial boss Bernie Ecclestone, Walker has recently spent time in Europe with the diminutive Briton to discuss the future of Formula One, and its impact on the Australian event.
And with a solution to the dispute not in sight, Walker believes FIA President Max Mosley should step down from his post, claiming the sport needs a new leader.
He said: "In my view Mr Mosley should walk away from the sport with dignity rather than slowly strangle to death the great brand of Formula One.
â€œThe sport needs fresh and dynamic leadership more than ever before to lead F1 into a new era of motor racing.
â€œBernie Ecclestone is absolutely trying to be a peacemaker, but if the most successful automotive companies in the world will not agree to the rules laid down by the FIA then that will be the end of it."
FOTA was walked out of talks regarding the new regulations in Germany after the FIA revealed the teams could only play an observational role in negotiations as they are not considered official entrants for the 2010 championship
According to FOTA, this contradicted an earlier agreement made during a meeting of the World Motor Sport Council when the teams, Mosley and Ecclestone signed a peace accord, ending the threat of a breakaway championship.
However, in light of the FIAâ€™s decision, FOTA has confirmed plans are still underway to launch a rebel series next season.
BMW Motorsport boss Mario Theissen told the BBC: â€œ"We have to keep our options open. We are working in both directions. It is part of the ongoing negotiations and we can only hope it will be sorted out.
"It's somewhat confusing to have been accepted as an entrant and then suddenly it looks different again."