FIA president Max Mosley has warned the governing body to brace itself for a potentially "difficult period" in Formula 1, with him fearing actions by the teams have reignited the threat of a breakaway championship.
Just a few days after Mosley and the Formula One Teams' Association (FOTA) reached a deal to secure the future of F1, he now claims that the sport's competitors have gone back on the agreement they reached.
Mosley thinks their suggestions that he has been forced out of office, and that the FIA must select an "independent" president to follow him, are signs that FOTA is set on dictating the way the sport is governed. And in the absence of a public apology that Mosley has demanded from FOTA chairman and Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo about misleading the media, the FIA president has written to the World Motor Sport Council to vent his fears about the short-term problems he believes F1 is now facing.
"It is disappointing that Montezemolo did not keep his part of the bargain we made last Wednesday," wrote Mosley in a letter to the WMSC. "I had anyway decided not to offer myself for re-election next October and, given what I have had to contend with during the last 12 months, I needed a peaceful summer before starting a more leisurely existence.
"The compromise we found was therefore acceptable to me personally and seemed in the overall interests of Formula 1. But when FOTA falsely claimed that they had ousted me and imposed their will on the FIA, the situation became intolerable."
He added: "No doubt we face a difficult period. This may well result in short-term problems in Formula 1. It is possible that FOTA will set up an independent series. That is their right, provided they do so under the International Sporting Code. But the Formula 1 World Championship will continue to be run by the FIA as it has been for 60 years.
"The championship has had difficult times in the past and no doubt will again in the future but that is no reason to hand control to an outside body, still less one with little or no understanding of sporting ethics and under the control of an industry we have constantly to monitor."
Mosley said his frustration at the attitude adopted by the teams was particularly high because he had faced lobbying from a manufacturer team earlier this year to try and influence the FIA's independent Court of Appeal to rule double decker diffusers outlawed.
"We have heard a lot from FOTA about an independent court of appeal," revealed Mosley. "Yet during the controversy over the 'double diffuser,' a manufacturer team repeatedly lobbied me (wholly improperly) to intervene with the FIA Court of Appeal and have the double diffuser declared illegal.
"The FIA Court would never listen to such an approach but it shows that for the team in question, 'independent' means independent of the other teams and under the control of particular interests."
Mosley has urged the WMSC to not allow the governing body to be influenced by the demands of teams.
"Member clubs of the FIA from all over the world have made it clear that they will never allow the car industry to decide who may and who may not be president of the FIA," he said. "This has nothing to do with me as an individual, it is about the independence of the FIA and its member clubs as defenders of the motorist and arbiters of international motorsport.
"In addition to motorsport, the FIA has to defend the interests of the motorist in areas such as road safety and the environment and even basic things like access to technical information for independent garages. This often brings us into conflict with the car industry.
"When we started EuroNCAP, one of the major manufacturers threatened to quit Formula 1 if we did not abandon our activities. The FIA has to be free to confront the car industry whenever necessary."