Ferrari threaten to pull out of F1

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ROME, May 13 – Ferrari on Tuesday threatened to pull out of next season's Formula One championship unless the International Automobile Federation (FIA) backs down on proposals for controversial rules changes.FORMULA_ONEFollowing a meeting of Ferrari’s Board of Directors, organised by president Luca di Montezemolo at the team’s base in Maranello, the team said it would not continue in F1 unless the FIA reverses a decision to set a budget cap of 40 million pounds (44.8 million euros) on teams’ spending next season.

"The Board of Directors examined developments related to recent decisions taken by the FIA during an extraordinary meeting of the World Motor Sport Council on 29 April 2009," a Ferrari statement in English said.

"Although this meeting was originally called only to examine a disciplinary matter, the decisions taken mean that, for the first time ever in Formula One, the 2010 season will see the introduction of two different sets of regulations based on arbitrary technical rules and economic parameters.

"The Board considers that if this is the regulatory framework for Formula One in the future, then the reasons underlying Ferrari’s uninterrupted participation in the World Championship over the last 60 years — the only constructor to have taken part ever since its inception in 1950 — would come to a close.

"The Board also expressed its disappointment about the methods adopted by the FIA in taking decisions of such a serious nature and its refusal to effectively reach an understanding with constructors and teams.

"The rules of governance that have contributed to the development of Formula One over the last 25 years have been disregarded, as have the binding contractual obligations between Ferrari and the FIA itself regarding the stability of the regulations.

"The same rules for all teams, stability of regulations, the continuity of the FOTA (Formula One Teams Association) endeavours to methodically and progressively reduce costs, and governance of Formula One are the priorities for the future.

"If these indispensable principles are not respected and if the regulations adopted for 2010 will not change, then Ferrari does not intend to enter its cars in the next Formula One World Championship.

"Ferrari trusts that its many fans worldwide will understand that this difficult decision is coherent with the Scuderia’s approach to motor sport and to Formula One in particular, always seeking to promote its sporting and technical values.

"The Chairman of the Board of Directors was mandated to evaluate the most suitable ways and methods to protect the company’s interests."

Earlier this month Max Mosley, the FIA chief, suggested F1 could without Ferrari, the sport’s most famous, successful, and longest-tenured team.

And F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone said prior to Tuesday’s statement he believed Ferrari would not quit F1, telling the Times: "Ferrari are not stupid. They don’t want to leave Formula 1 and we don’t want to lose them, so we’ll get to grips with it."

However on the controversial budget issue Ferrari are not alone.

Red Bull gave a similar ultimatum a couple of days earlier, and Toyota have also voiced opposition.

"If the proposed rules for 2010 stay unchanged, we will not take part in the 2010 championship," Dietrich Mateschitz, the owner of the drinks company which backs the team, told the Salzburger Nachrichten newspaper.

"Teams of manufacturers will no longer take part. Of the teams now, only two or three will remain," added the Red Bull chief who also runs sister team Toro Rosso.

Under the proposed voluntary budget cap, those teams who spend below the figure will be able to take advantage of various technical benefits which are currently banned under current specifications.

On Saturday, Japanese team Toyota said they too would consider their future in the sport with many teams unhappy with the two-tier budget cap system in 2010.

"Under the rules as they are published, we cannot submit an entry," Toyota president John Howett told www.autosport.com.

On Thursday, Williams technical chief Patrick Head had expressed his fears over the risk of a "two-tier championship".

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