FIA president Max Mosley has played down talk of Formula 1 being left in crisis by the threat of teams to leave F1 because they are unhappy about a two-tier category.
After talks between teams and the FIA ended without agreement at a hotel near London's Heathrow Airport on Friday afternoon, Mosley said he is not worried about the situation.
He believes that the likes of Toyota, Renault, Red Bull and Ferrari were unlikely to see through their plans to not compete in 2010 – and believed legal action taken in France by Ferrari was proof that the Italian manufacturer wanted to remain in the sport.
"I don't think it will happen," said Mosley when asked by AUTOSPORT if he was worried about a number of big teams leaving F1. "There is this suggestion that there is some sort of crisis, but I don't think there is a crisis.
"We were absolutely up against the deadline for new teams, and if a new team is going to come into F1 they have got to know they have got an entry and they are in. We've already left it very late and that is why it was necessary to have an absolute deadline.
"Now that has been done, they will apply to enter and we will look at the applications and take a decision. Then there will probably be some vacancies, and then other teams may decide to enter later or not as the case may be. There won't be a crisis of any kind, if indeed a crisis at all, until March 2010 when we go to Melbourne. There is plenty of time.
"The people who are up against it time-wise are new teams, because you cannot nowadays just start an F1 team at short notice. That is all underway – and we will see how the new teams look. There are a very large number of people who have expressed an interest, and a significant number of them are serious. The difficulty is that there are going to be more serious teams than the potential three places if all the existing teams entered. So we are going to have to take a view on that."
Mosley said he would be surprised if Ferrari, in particular, followed through on its announced intention not to enter 2010 if the rules do not change, given its threat of legal action.
"I would be very surprised in the end if they do, because they have been saying, “We are going to leave,” yet they seek an injunction to try and get the rules not changed," he said. "If they were going to leave, you would think they would just leave. But in any event, it does not become an issue for the best part of a year, or 10 months."
Entries for the 2010 championship close at the end of May, and Mosley has warned that those current outfits that do not lodge their applications in time will risk being locked out of the sport if there are enough new entrants to fill the grid.
"This could happen," said Mosley. "You see, if they don't enter you can probably assume that some of them will stop, or do something else – go to Le Mans with a diesel engine, or go to Indianapolis with a Honda engine. It is all possible."
Ferrari has lodged an injunction in the French courts because it believes that a technical veto it has on future technical regulation changes was not adhered to.