Today FIA, or should I say Max Mosley, published that baffling list of teams entered for the 2010 F1 series.
Please see http://bleacherreport.com/articles/197744-2010-fia-formula-one-world-championship-entry-list for the full list.
From the moment it was published, it was met with disbelief, discussion and opposing press-releases.
My first reaction was fury at Max's utter arrogance: "I'm the boss and I alone decide how the business is run".
Max simply ignored the fact that Ferrari, STR and Red Bull had made conditional entries and are part of the FOTA-opposition to the FIA's new rule proposals.
Instead he included these three teams as unconditional in his list and gave the other five FOTA-teams a dead-line of June 19 to comply with FIA 2010 rules or leave F1 racing.
Next to the treatment of the old teams, also the three new teams included are not undisputed. FIA chose for two rather unknown teams (Manor and Campos) at the cost of more familiar names like Prodrive, Lola or Brabham.
What could be the reason for Max and FIA to publish this list for 2010, apart from the sheer arrogance of an old fox? Bluff could be an option...
Max could be hoping to split the FOTA teams, by treating them differently.
He could also be hoping that by simply including all the teams for 2010, combined with their possible inability to organize their own grand prix racing (if only because of the threat by Bernie to sue them for may be hundreds of millions in case of a break away), the new season might take off in March as if nothing ever happened.
However, there may be more realism and force behind this list than we like to think. This list may not be based on bluff or arrogance but on a strong legal position of FIA. And that I find a scary thought!
Max told the press that Ferrari, Red Bull and Torro Rosso are legally bound to race in the present F1 series by contract, which they signed with the FOM, until 2012.
Max is a legal adviser; FIA already won the first court case from Ferrari in France. Max even managed to survive the Nazi-hooker scandal. He is a heavyweight in matters of law.
My nightmare is that FIA will be able to hold these three teams on to their contracts or sue them and win. We can only hope that Ferrari, STR and Red Bull can have their contracts be declared void, as Ferrari claims.
If FIA is legally justified, I can't see Ferrari, STR and Red Bull being able to stick to their threats to withdraw. Reducing FOTA effectively to a growling puppy.
I desperately hope, this list is no more than FIA and Max bluffing or overplaying themselves in arrogance.
Yet I am afraid that Max knew very well what he was doing.
If that is true, there will be no other option for the teams than to accept FIA rules, (which only may become more lenient by Max's "benevolence") or leave F1 - as long as they are not bound by contract.