Monday, May 11, 2009

F1: Red Bull Latest To Threaten Withdrawal; Brawn Denies Team Orders In Spain


Red Bull has become the latest team to threaten to pull out of Formula One unless the FIA revises its changes to the 2010 regulations.

Toyota’s John Howett dropped the first bombshell at Catalunya on Saturday, revealing his company was not prepared to commit next year under the proposed regulations, while it is believed Ferrari and BMW are seriously considering a future outside F1.

Following the lead of Howett, Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz has now expressed his dissatisfaction in Austria’s Salzburger Nachrichten newspaper overnight.


Mateschitz warned that the FIA will need to eliminate the prospect of a ‘two-tier championship’ or face a severely reduced F1 grid.

“If the proposed rules for 2010 stay unchanged, we will not take part in the 2010 championship,” he said.

“Teams [backed by] manufacturers will no longer take part. Of the teams now, only two or three will remain.”

Heartened by the expressions of interest made by Prodrive, Lola, US Grand Prix Engineering and iSport, the FIA accelerated the introduction of the budget cap late last month, hoping to confirm a 13-team grid by the end of May.

But the hasty decision to do so appears to have back fired, with independent teams such as Williams and Brawn, who were expected to support the FIA, privately opposing the new regulations, allowing FOTA to present a united stance.

FIA boss Max Mosley.

FIA President Max Mosley believes a budget cap is essential to secure the future of Formula One, previously stating teams will leave the sport unless costs are reduced.

“People simply cannot in the current economic conditions get enough money to survive without it. I suspect that when they see the figures, everybody will want to come in under the cost cap,” he said.

Unfortunately for Mosley, teams appear set to withdraw now because of the budget cap, handing FOTA all the bargaining chips and likely to now force Mosley to back down.

Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo has organised a meeting with Mosley for next week, setting the stage for a showdown.

Meanwhile, Brawn GP has denied suggestions Rubens Barrichello was the victim of team orders at the Spanish Grand Prix.

Brawn team mates Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello at Spain this weekend.

Brawn GP Chief Executive Officer, Nick Fry, said the decision to switch Jenson Button’s pit strategy to two-stops was not deliberately designed to relegate Barrichello down the order and boost the Briton’s title aspirations.

“No. Both sides of the garage were racing,” he told Autosport.

“Listening to what was going on there was huge determination – firstly for Jenson to make the gap, and then on Rubens’ side of the garage with a bit of frustration at the end that they didn’t make it happen.”