FIA president Max Mosley has insisted that Formula 1 could live without Ferrari in response to Luca di Montezemolo's criticism of the budget cap regulations.
The Ferrari chairman hit out at the introduction of the budget cap in a letter to the FIA revealed by AUTOSPORT yesterday.
In the letter di Montezemolo said the budget cap could undermine the credibility of the sport and be difficult to implement. He suggested that "all aspects of the new regulations should be carefully reviewed."
But Mosley insists that the £40 million ($59m) budget cap is vital for the health of F1, saying that if Ferrari was to be lost to F1 it would simply be "sad". He added that he expects it to be difficult for the team to justify its opposition to the budget cap to the Ferrari board given the amount of money it could save.
"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?'"
Mosley emphasized that the FIA would not back away from the budget cap and that it is vital for the financial health of F1 in both the long and short term.
"The cost cap is here to stay," he said. "There is room for discussion, it might go up or down in 2011 and if the economy picks up, say in 2014, then it might go up. You might adjust the cap in the interests of the sport, but you'll have everyone on a level playing field.
"The credit crunch hasn't really hit F1 yet. Obviously we lost Honda, but the real crunch will come when current contracts come to be renewed.
"Those contracts were signed before their share prices took a dump. I believe FOM [Formula One Management, the commercial rights holder of F1] will not be able to give the teams as much money as they have."
Mosley admitted that policing the budget cap would be difficult, but that any suspected irregularities would be thoroughly investigated.
"The difficulty and danger of cheating would be enormous," Mosley told the FT
. "If we had the slightest suspicion that anyone was cheating, we'd send a team in to check. That's part of the deal.
"The [Inland] Revenue can't put even one tax inspector into each business on a permanent basis, we can put several in."Related stories:Ferrari expresses budget cap concernsMcLaren, Williams fear "two-tiered" F1Force India cautious about budget capBudget cap details