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Ferrari's Lawsuit: Is an End Game in Sight?

MONTE CARLO, MONACO - MAY 22:  FIA President Max Mosley arrives in pitlane before practice for the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix at the Monte Carlo Circuit on May 22, 2008 in Monte Carlo, Monaco.  (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
Daniel ZylberkanCorrespondent IMay 15, 2009

Recent developments in the FIA-FOTA War have made what was an interesting bit of politics a couple of weeks ago into a full-fledged war between the teams and the FIA. What both sides have in common, is that they are not willing to compromise.

Ferrari and the other teams on FOTA's hardline will not settle for a compromise where the "two tier" system is dropped and the budget caps are raised to a level that both sides find suitable. Ferrari is philosophically opposed to the idea of a budget-capped Formula One. So they acted upon this fundamental disagreement and threatened to leave the sport, but the FIA would not relent.

The FIA sees its regulation changes as something vital to the sport. Something that widen its mass appeal by adding more cars to the grid and more teams to the paddock, while decreasing cost and improving the level of competition.

But it's back fired, and what was proposed with the best of intentions in mind has the possibility of tearing the sport apart. As a governing body, shouldn't the FIA have the best interest of the sport at mind?

If more teams enter the sport at the expense of Ferrari leaving it, who wins? Not the fans, but the FIA, who wants to stress financial superiority and the value of "green" racing. Formula One is about racing, not about money or enviromentalism, and Ferrari is the best ever at that, so they have a real bone to pick with the FIA.

Now it's all come to a head and the intrasigence of both sides have resulted in one last desperate attempt to settle the issue once and for all.

What was thought to be a bluff a couple days ago is now a straight play. Ferrari has sued the FIA in the French courts. Now all the cards are on the table, negotiation is no longer an option. As if it ever was...the FIA and FOTA have so little in common that they need an honest broker or unbiased party to hear the case. Ferrari took the matter into its own hands and took the power away from the FIA and gave it to the French government.

The FIA has lost whatever advantage it once had in dealing with teams. Negotiations were strained from the get go, the grievances to deep to be reconciled. The FIA wasn't willing to compromise either. With Ferrari's latest move, it's left with no chance but to relent to the FOTA. Formula One can't survive without the large manufacturer backed teams, the financial power they bring to the table, and the loyalty of their fans.

Mosley must realize that by forcing such radical changes he has alienated the sport's main constituency, the fans. I for one would not watch Formula One if the large teams and the best drivers in the world were not in the series. 

I think Ferrari is in the right, the FIA has no right to enforce whatever rule changes it wants without consulting anybody. A governing body is not supposed to act like a dictator. There needs to be advise and consent. All of the parties need to be consulted. Mosley's actions are wrong and they will be struck down. Formula One depends on it.

 

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