Seven-time World Champion Michael Schumacher has added his voice to the argument over the future of Formula 1 – claiming that the manufacturers should not be forced to accept the kind of radical cost-cutting proposals being put forward by the FIA.
The former Ferrari driver says he cannot envisage F1 in the future being without the car makers, and thinks that a solution should be found that keeps them in on their terms.
In a video interview released on Ferrari's official website just a few days before the entry list for the 2010 championship is revealed, Schumacher was outspoken in his belief that the manufacturers were vital for F1's future.
"It is not a very exciting situation that we are facing – especially the sport that I have participated most of my life in and that I really love. To see what is going on there, it is not good," said Schumacher. "At the end of the day, if you think Ferrari, the name is so important, it is so big in this sport. It became big due to the sport, but it actually grew the sport at the same time.
"You cannot see F1 without Ferrari or the other manufacturers who have participated for so long. I really believe that somehow they must find a solution – and the solution can only be that it suits those teams that have built up F1 to the state that it is now.
"You cannot expect drastic changes to be accepted by such important manufacturers. Yes, you have a target, yes, you want to reduce costs, but you have to do it step by step, you cannot turn the world around in one day – that is impossible."
Schumacher's comments come as the FIA and the Formula One Teams' Association (FOTA) try and come to a settlement that will help secure the future of the sport.
FIA president Max Mosley wrote to the FOTA teams on Monday saying that it would be better if they lodged unconditional entries to next year's championship, so they could then help frame new rules. FOTA is expected to respond imminently.