Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone says he will protect Ferrari's position in the team's row with FIA president Max Mosley over the introduction of budget caps.
Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo said last week the budget cap rules could cause serious damage to the sport. That led Mosley to say over the weekend that Formula 1 could survive without Ferrari if the team does not adapt to the rules.
"The sport could survive without Ferrari," Mosley told the Financial Times
. "It would be very sad to lose Ferrari. It is the Italian national team.
"I hope and think that when a team goes to its board and says, 'I want to go to war with the FIA, because I want to be able to spend £100m more than the FIA want me to spend,' the board will say, 'Why can't you spend £40m if the other teams can do it?'"
Speaking to The Times
newspaper, Ecclestone said he won't let Mosley "destroy" Ferrari.
"I won't let it happen," Ecclestone told the newspaper. "The trouble with Luca is that you shouldn't let Max ever be in a position where he can start a debate or an argument. He's reasonably clever and you won't win.
"Even if you do win, it's like you being in the audience and me being there with the microphone. You say something smart and I don't give you the microphone -- it's as easy as that."
Ecclestone, however, insisted the budget cap idea could still work if the teams and the FIA manage to agree on some important points.
"It would appear that everyone is in favour of the cap, including Ferrari, if we can get them to agree, which we can," Ecclestone added.
"However, there is concern over the amount that is referred to in the cap for some of the teams and also the two-tier system. So these are probably not monumental things to sort out."