Mosley opens window for 2008 14 Feb 2006
FIA president Max Mosley has told Formula One teams that they will have a 10-day window of opportunity next month in which to commit to the 2008 championship, or risk losing their place on the grid.
Speaking in London yesterday, Mosley said he hoped the manufacturers threatening to form a breakaway championship when the Concorde Agreement expires at the end of 2007 would commit to the series. But he warned the five Grand Prix Manufacturers Association teams BMW Sauber, Honda, McLaren Mercedes, Renault and Toyota - that they would not be guaranteed one of the 12 entries if they fail to sign-up in time.
The entry window is expected to open on March 23 2006, closing 10 days later, so that the deadline for 2008 regulations can be observed by the end of June.
So far only six teams - Ferrari, Williams, Midland F1, Red Bull, Scuderia Torro Rosso and Super Aguri - have committed to the new 2008 Concorde Agreement, though some of the so-called rebels have indicated that they would be prepared to follow suit if it was possible to compete on a budget of around £100m per year. Current levels of expenditure by the top teams exceeds that by a factor of three or even four.
Mosley has introduced plans to reduce costs significantly to ensure that smaller, independent teams are attracted to the sport. These will be discussed at the next meeting of the World Motor Sport Council in Paris on March 22.
"From 2008, nobody has either a right or an obligation to enter the championship," Mosley said. "We may have fewer vacancies than there are teams out there.
"We are going to stick to 12 teams because of safety and all the pits now are arranged for 12. There are six in there, there are three possibly four people talking about entering and there are five GPMA teams.
"It makes sense to open entries soon and then to close them again quickly. Then we can discuss with the people that have entered refinements to the regulations before the deadline of the end of June.
"The regulations for entry are identical to the present day except that we have deleted the $48million bond. We would look at their factory, their business and be satisfied that are capable of doing what we wanted.
"It would mean a good GP2 team would have a better chance of getting an entry than say I would if it was just me on my own.
"There will be provision in the rules saying we could accept a late entry but you can only do that if there is a vacancy.
"The GPMA were saying until recently they were going to run their own series and if they do we will do everything we can to help.
"It would not surprise me to see some defections (from the GPMA) next month when we open the entries. I hope everybody will be sensible and see these are sensible rules and everyone will enter.
"I have got a real determination to see this through. I honestly believe that if F1 is to prosper then we have got to get the costs down so that the independent teams can survive."
The GPMA did not wish to make an official comment on Mosleys decision to bring forward the 2008 entry date by almost two years.