Mosley says F1 budget cap could be phased in
MONACO (Reuters) - Formula One teams may get a year's grace before having to race with a 40 million pounds budget cap, International Automobile Federation (FIA) President Max Mosley said on Sunday.
"(There could be) a higher figure (next year), and then going to the full cap in 2011," he told Reuters at the Monaco Grand Prix after meeting team principals. "This is a possibility."
Mosley also said one or two manufacturers could leave at the end of the season, with or without a budget cap, but he was confident that champions Ferrari would remain despite their threat to quit.
"I think one or two of them may have to stop, but nothing to do with these discussions," he said.
"It is very difficult for a major manufacturer to continue in Formula One when they are doing economies in their factories like shutting off every other lift, turning down the electricity, not cleaning the windows, not serving coffee at the meetings.
"A company that is in that sort of situation is unlikely to go on pouring massive money into Formula One," said the Briton.
Former champions Renault, who are facing a gaping hole in their team budget after main sponsor ING announced their departure at the end of the year, and Toyota are seen as the most uncertain.
Japan's Honda have already walked away, their place taken by championship leaders Brawn GP.
Mosley has been pushing the budget cap as a way of encouraging new entrants while also reducing costs to keep existing teams in the sport.
The 2010 regulations published last month included the optional 40 million pound cap, with teams who accept it granted greater technical freedom than those remaining with unlimited budgets.
Ferrari have said that would create an unacceptable two-tier series and have threatened to walk away. So too have Renault, Toyota and the two Red Bull teams.
"I am confident Ferrari will still be here," said Mosley, who said new teams were still desperately needed.
"We need to get Formula One to the point where an independent team can operate profitably because that's a condition of being able to continue indefinitely," he said.
Mosley said the budget cap would ultimately have to remain in the 40 million region because even that amount would be a "massive undertaking" for new entrants.
However, a higher cap in 2010 should not prove insurmountable.
"The main thing for the new teams is that they shouldn't be behind technically, and there are ways of overcoming that problem," he said, without giving details.
Mosley met Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo in Monaco on Friday, after an inconclusive meeting with teams bosses in London the previous week, and the Briton said the talks were progressing well although an agreement was still some way off.
"We can see solutions now. I don't think there is any fundamental diversity of view," he said.
"The main stumbling block really is the same old thing, trying to reconcile the people who have got a lot of money at the moment and think they will continue to have a lot, with the interests of those who haven't, and trying to keep a full grid."
(Editing by Peter Rutherford)
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