Before FOTAs decision to walk out of yesterdays Technical Working Group meeting, the President of the FIA wrote twice to the President of FOTA to remind him that any amendments to the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship regulations were subject to the unanimous approval of the five teams that had already entered for next season under the rules as published.
This is because of the International Sporting Code and also because the entered teams have a contract with the FIA which not even the General Assembly or the World Council can abrogate. Anyone with an elementary knowledge of motor sport governance knows this. Imagine the uproar if, after the FOTA teams had entered, the World Council were subsequently to change the rules without asking them.
It follows that the agreement of the five teams currently entered in the 2010 World Championship to all 2010 rule changes is required. To suggest that FOTA were only made aware of this during the meetings of yesterday is quite simply untrue. So is the implicit claim that they were all unaware of one of motor sports basic principles.
As things stand, the current members of the F1 Technical and Sporting Working Groups, in relation to 2010 are the teams which have entered the 2010 Championship. However the 8 FOTA teams were invited to the meetings in order that all 13 teams could agree the 2010 Sporting and Technical Regulations which would then be the so-called ‘stable regulations in a new Concorde Agreement. The SWG took place in the morning on this basis and much progress was made. However in the afternoon the FOTA teams walked out of the TWG. Nevertheless the five entered teams were able to confirm the changes agreed by the World Council in Paris on 24 June, as announced yesterday.
It has always been the FIA's understanding that the FOTA teams wanted a Concorde Agreement in place before entering the 2010 Championship. Once entered, the FOTA teams could no longer threaten a breakaway because of the contractual position mentioned above.
The basis for the FIA agreeing to drop plans for a cost cap was the proposal prepared by the Williams team over the Silverstone weekend which would allow an agreed reduction of expenditure to the level of the early 1990s by the end of 2011 to be dealt with by the teams themselves. This reduction was agreed by FOTA and confirmed by them in Paris on 24 June. This would be a private, legally-enforceable contract involving all the teams, but not the FIA. The FIA confirmed in Paris that once this agreement is in place, the cost cap provisions can be removed from the 2010 Sporting Regulations.
The deal that the FIA reached with FOTA in Paris was to extend the 1998 Concorde Agreement with some minor amendments to the governance section. This would have put in place an F1 Commission to deal with future rules with any major question going to the FIA Senate.
However, on 25 June, instead of the 1998 Agreement with some minor amendments, the FIA received 350 pages of a completely new Concorde Agreement.
It being wholly impractical to involve the Senate in such detailed negotiations, the contract was handed over to FIA lawyers, who worked on it tirelessly over the weekend 27-28 June and gave comments during a three-hour conference call on Monday 29 June. Then the 350 pages of 25 June turned out not to be the final FOTA/FOA version and elements of a new version appeared, partly on 2 July, partly on 3 July.
Again, FIA lawyers worked over the weekend on 4-5 July, as did FIA President Max Mosley and FIA Deputy President (sport) Nick Craw. Further comments were then given on a three and a half hour lawyers' call on Monday 6 July and again in a conference call yesterday, 8 July, following the circulation of further drafts. Further significant progress was made yesterday evening in yet another conference call.
At present it seems probable that a final draft of the 2009 Concorde Agreement will be agreed and ready for signature in the coming days.