The FIA has responded to the FOTA teams' claim that they were aware of the rule-making process when they joined yesterday’s meeting with Formula 1’s ruling body.
The eight FOTA teams decided to walk out of the meeting on Wednesday after they were told they could have no input on regulatory discussions. FOTA was informed it had only an “observer” status in the process, leading to the teams leaving the meeting and accusing the FIA of putting the sport in jeopardy. The governing body, however, has responded by saying the teams should have known that the unanimous approval of all 13 F1 teams was mandatory.
“Before FOTA’s decision to walk out of yesterday’s Technical Working Group meeting, the President of the FIA wrote twice to the President of FOTA to remind him that any amendments to the 2010 FIA Formula 1 World Championship regulations were subject to the unanimous approval of the five teams that had already entered for next season under the rules as published,” said the FIA in a statement. "This is because of the International Sporting Code and also because the entered teams have a contract with the FIA which not even the General Assembly or the World Council can abrogate. Anyone with an elementary knowledge of motorsport governance knows this.
“Imagine the uproar if, after the FOTA teams had entered, the World Council were subsequently to change the rules without asking them. It follows that the agreement of the five teams currently entered in the 2010 World Championship to all 2010 rule changes is required.
“To suggest that FOTA were only made aware of this during the meetings of yesterday is quite simply untrue. So is the implicit claim that they were all unaware of one of motorsport’s basic principles.”
The FOTA teams requested the postponement of the meeting, but the teams’ body said it was refused “on the grounds that no new Concorde Agreement would be permitted before a unanimous approval of the 2010 regulations was achieved.”
The FIA said on Thursday that it was “probable” that the new deal could be signed in the coming days, suggesting the delay has been caused by FOTA sending a completely new, 350-page, document. It added that while this wasn’t what the governing body had expected, it was optimistic a suitable agreement could ready to be signed soon.
“The deal that the FIA reached with FOTA in Paris was to extend the 1998 Concorde Agreement with some minor amendments to the governance section,” the statement added. “This would have put in place an F1 Commission to deal with future rules with any major question going to the FIA Senate.
“However, on June 25, instead of the 1998 Agreement with some minor amendments, the FIA received 350 pages of a completely new Concorde Agreement. It being wholly impractical to involve the Senate in such detailed negotiations, the contract was handed over to FIA lawyers, who worked on it tirelessly over the weekend June 27-28 and gave comments during a three-hour conference call on Monday 29 June. Then the 350 pages of June 25 turned out not to be the final FOTA/FOA version and elements of a new version appeared, partly on July 2, partly on July 3.
“Again, FIA lawyers worked over the weekend on July 4-5, as did FIA President Max Mosley and FIA Deputy President (sport) Nick Craw. Further comments were then given on a three and a half hour lawyers’ call on Monday, July 6 and again in a conference call yesterday, July 8, following the circulation of further drafts. Further significant progress was made yesterday evening in yet another conference call.
“At present it seems probable that a final draft of the 2009 Concorde Agreement will be agreed and ready for signature in the coming days.”Related stories:• FOTA says FIA putting F1 in jeopardy• FOTA teams walk out of FIA meeting