THE threat of a breakaway series continues to lurk menacingly in the background as FOTA refused to buckle in the ongoing war with FIA president Max Mosley last night.
That was the underlying message emerging from the paddock at the Nurburgring, despite the peace pact drawn up between Mosley, F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone and FOTA chairman Luca di Montezemolo two weeks ago.
The goalposts have shifted since then, with BMW Sauber boss Mario Theissen pointing the blame at “irritating elements” for the latest discord to blight Formula One.
Behind the scenes, it is understood the eight member teams of FOTA are refusing to sign a new Concorde Agreement – the confidential document that governs the commercial side of the sport – unless they have cast-iron assurances Mosley will not stand again for the presidency.
In an FIA statement yesterday with the headline ‘Setting The Record Straight’ after FOTA yesterday stated the future of F1 was again “in jeopardy”, the governing body have claimed the signing of the Concorde Agreement could be done “in the coming days.”
That was dismissed as “over-optimistic” by Theissen, with the whole 700-word draft seemingly viewed as little more than FIA propaganda.
The bottom line would appear to be that Mosley, who suggested he would stand again after becoming infuriated with FOTA’s ’victory’ celebrations in the wake of the £40million budget cap being scrapped, must go if the sport as we know it is to survive.
It is believed high-level talks have taken place between the teams and senior figures above Ecclestone at CVC – the commercial rights holders – who are determined to protect their £1.5billion asset.