THE FORMULA ONE TEAMS ASSOCIATION has stunned the motorsport world by announcing it will establish a breakaway World Championship for next season.
Teams met at Renault F1?s Enstone headquarters overnight to discuss the merits of FIA President Max Mosley?s final compromise offer before Friday?s deadline.
Mosley had agreed to increase the 2010 cap to ?100 million before dropping to the required ?45 million in 2011, while he was also prepared to change some of the technical regulations for next season.
Among Mosley's proposed changes were the banning of 4wd cars and the scrapping of the two-tier system, while rules regarding engines, moveable front wings and tyre warmers were to remain the same.
He also proposed that Cosworth-powered teams be allowed to run engines unrestricted in a bid to level the playing field after the supplier?s three-year absence.
But unimpressed by these final proposals from the hapless and increasingly isolated Mosley, FOTA has confirmed it will proceed with intentions to launch a rival top flight series next season, citing frustration over the FIA?s refusal to meet its demands.
?The teams cannot continue to compromise on the fundamental values of the sport and have declined to alter their original conditional entries to the 2010 World Championship,? FOTA said in a statement.
"These teams therefore have no alternative other than to commence the preparation for a new Championship which reflects the values of its participants and partners.
?This series will have transparent governance, one set of regulations, encourage more entrants and listen to the wishes of the fans, including offering lower prices for spectators worldwide, partners and other important stakeholders.
"The major drivers, stars, brands, sponsors, promoters and companies historically associated with the highest level of motorsport will all feature in this new series."
FOTA accused the FIA of waging a political campaign targeted at destroying the organisation?s credibility, while suggesting Formula One Management has refused to pay prize money to certain teams.
?The FIA and the commercial rights holder have campaigned to divide FOTA,? the statement continued.
"The wishes of the majority of the teams are ignored. Furthermore, tens of millions of dollars have been withheld from many teams by the commercial rights holder, going back as far as 2006. Despite this and the uncompromising environment, FOTA has genuinely sought compromise."
While the loss of the FOTA teams will certainly damage F1?s prestige, the championship is poised to receive further blows over the coming days with a number of drivers believed to be prepared to walk away from the sport.
Two-time World Champion and Grand Prix Drivers Association director Fernando Alonso says he has no intention of competing in a budget-capped F1 series unless the major outfits are present.
"At least for me it is not attractive at all the new Formula 1, with the small teams and no drivers," he said.
"We want to compete with the best teams in the world, with the maximum technology, we all want to compete with the best drivers, and this is what F1 and competition is all about. So if this is not what Formula 1 is about next year, then for sure it will be another category with that.
"I will not retire, I will drive for another championship. If it is not a new series, I will not join the new Formula 1 as I said with there small teams. Because for me this is not technology, this is not F1, this is not the category we loved for the last 60 years.?
The FIA is yet to issue a response.