Court rejects Ferrari's bid to stop F1 budget caps
Published Wednesday, May 20, 2009 2:19PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, May 18, 2012 10:56PM EDT
PARIS - Ferrari's bid to stop Formula One from instituting a budget cap next season was dismissed by a French court Wednesday, and the Italian team reiterated its threat to pull out of the 2010 championship.
Ferrari sought an injunction against governing body FIA's plans to introduce a voluntary US$60 million cap for racing teams, but the appeal was rejected by Judge Jacques Gondrand de Robert.
"There is no imminent damage that needs to be prevented or clearly unlawful unrest that needs to be stopped," the judge said.
Ferrari, Renault, Toyota, Red Bull and Toro Rosso have said they could withdraw from next year's championship if the cap isn't overturned.
The judge accepted Ferrari's legal right to challenge the plans but agreed with the FIA that the team should have taken its case earlier to the World Motor Sport Council.
"No competitor should place their interests above those of the sport in which they compete," FIA president Max Mosley said after the ruling. "The FIA, the teams and our commercial partners will now continue to work to ensure the well-being of Formula One in 2010 and beyond."
Ferrari said it hadn't decided whether to continue with legal action, adding it wants to ensure that "Formula 1 is a series where the rules are the same for everyone" and where cost cuts are "gradual."
"Ferrari will not enter its cars in a competition that, with the planned scenario in place, would see a watering down of the characteristics that have endowed Formula 1," Ferrari said in a statement.
The team hinted it would consider competing in a breakaway series.
"In this situation, Ferrari will continue to compete in races of a calibre worthy of the marquee, matching its level of innovation and technological research," the team said.
The deadline for entering the 2010 championship is May 29, giving disgruntled teams little more than a week to find an alternate solution.
Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen said he expects the team will leave F1 if things don't improve.
"I am pretty sure we are going to disappear from Formula One," the 2007 world champion said. "Definitely for me it's not good for Formula One to have these kind of things going on."
Teammate Felipe Massa said the dispute was frustrating for racers, who are preparing in Monaco for Sunday's Grand Prix.
"For sure that doesn't help the sport," the Brazilian said. "`This fight means many people are going to be upset. The only thing is it would be nice to have more sport and less political (fighting). I hope things (are) going to be OK."
Massa hopes a resolution will be reached to prevent an eventual exodus of teams from F1.
"If we lose Ferrari, Formula One won't be the same," Massa said. "People can say what they want. Imagine you lose Ferrari and you get the GP2 teams, it won't be the same. We are here for racing, not to fight each other. I support my team. I will support my team because I think Ferrari is not alone. Ferrari took the lead, but it's not just Ferrari."
F1 team owners met with Mosley and F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone in London last week but failed to resolve the dispute.
Teams that accept the budget cap will be allowed to make more technical changes to their cars than those which don't.
Teams opposing the cap have claimed that Mosley and FIA pushed through the changes without proper consultation.
Ferrari sent a team of three lawyers to a high court in Paris on Tuesday, arguing that FIA should not be able to change the rules.
The Italian team's lawyers, Emmanuel Gaillard and Henri Peter, said F1 was in danger of becoming a two-tier championship if budget caps were applied and that, with 700 employees worldwide, Ferrari is unable to reduce its budget significantly in such a short time.
The FIA insisted that the survival of F1 means cutbacks are necessary in a time of "deep financial crisis."
Ferrari is F1's most famous team, having competed in the series since its inception 60 years ago.