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Teams threaten to set up rival championship

Video by Claire PRYDE , Benoît PERROCHAIS

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2009-06-19

Eight Formula One teams, including Renault, Ferrari and Toyota, said on Thursday they rejected the demands of Formula One's governing body and would seek to launch a new series in 2010.

REUTERS - Eight Formula One teams said on Thursday they would start preparations for a new series in 2010 after refusing to bow to the demands of the governing International Automobile Federation.

 

A statement said BMW-Sauber, Brawn, Ferrari, McLaren, Red Bull, Renault, Toro Rosso and Toyota were united in the decision.

 

"It has become clear...that the teams cannot continue to compromise on the fundamental values of the sport and have declined to alter their original conditional entries to the 2010 world championship," the Formula One Teams Association (FOTA) said.

 

"These teams therefore have no alternative other than to commence the preparation for a new championship which reflects the values of its participants and partners.

 

"This series will have transparent governance, one set of regulations, encourage more entrants and listen to the wishes of the fans, including offering lower prices for spectators worldwide, partners and other important stakeholders," the statement added.

 

"The major drivers, stars, brands, sponsors, promoters and companies historically associated with the highest level of motorsport will all feature in this new series."

 

The decision, if the teams carry through their intention, will split Formula One in two.

 

LEGAL BATTLE

 

Former champions Williams and Force India have already committed unconditionally to the FIA's world championship along with three new entrants -- Campos, U.S. F1 and Manor -- who have yet to build any grand prix cars.

 

The FIA has said there are other would-be newcomers waiting to take the places of those teams that refused to enter unconditionally although one, Lola, has already withdrawn its application.

 

The stage is also set for a legal battle, with the FIA saying champions Ferrari and the two Red Bull teams have existing contracts which commit them to the existing championship.

 

The FIA had set a Friday deadline for five teams -- Brawn, BMW-Sauber, McLaren, Renault and Toyota -- to convert their provisional entries into unconditional ones or risk being excluded.

 

The eight FOTA members met at Renault's Enstone headquarters on Thursday evening and issued a joint statement emphasising their common will and accusing the FIA and commercial rights holders of trying to divide them.

 

"The wishes of the majority of the teams are ignored," the statement said. "Furthermore, tens of millions of dollars have been withheld from many teams by the commercial rights holder, going back as far as 2006.

 

"Despite this, and the uncompromising environment, FOTA has genuinely sought compromise."

 

There was no immediate comment from the FIA or Formula One's commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone.
 

Date created : 2009-06-19

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