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Formula 1 drama rolls on

Stephen Dobie
5 Jun 2009

Formula 1's budget cap controversy isn't over - big teams could still be missing in 2010

Thought it was all over? Inevitably, it’s not. A week after the Formula 1 grid was seemingly filled back up for 2010, we could still be facing a sport minus its established key players next year.

The nine teams that make up the F1 Teams’ Association (Fota) – including Brawn GP, Ferrari, McLaren and Renault – submitted entries for 2010-12 on the basis of a new financial agreement and budget plan being drawn up with the FIA, F1’s governing body, by June 12, the day that next season’s official finalised grid is published.

A week later, though, as teams prepare for the Turkish GP in Istanbul, the matter is clearly not over. Instead of compromising or trying to come to an agreement with Fota and its teams, the FIA’s president Max Mosley has said those not wishing to comply with new rules are free to leave the championship.

‘If you want to formulate your own rules, then you can organise your own championship,’ Mosley said. ‘We now have a dispute and we will see who prevails. But we have the F1 championship. We draw up the rules for that, we have been doing that for 60 years and we will continue doing so.’

While the loss of F1’s biggest draws in the shape of Ferrari, McLaren et al would be a dramatic one, there are plenty of potential teams who’d attempt to fill the gaping hole left behind. Williams broke off from Fota and submitted its own entry, so will race in 2010 regardless, while a plethora of other teams also submitted entries for next year, spurred on by the technical advantages bestowed upon teams who spend less than the intended £40million voluntary budget cap that has caused so much controversy.

Among the names that could be racing next year are some familiar faces, in the shape of Lola, March and Prodrive. A successful entry for the latter could pave the way for an Aston Martin-branded F1 team.

There’s sure to be more twists and turns before June 12, when (hopefully) the matter will finally be resolved. In the meantime, there’s the small matter of the seventh round of the 2009 F1 season in Turkey. First practice was led by the Williams’ Nico Rosberg, with Brit Lewis Hamilton and Toyota’s Jarno Trulli close behind.

By the end of second practice the order had changed, with McLaren's Heikki Kovaleinen top and Fernando Alonso (Renault) and Robert Kubica (BMW Sauber) following in second and third. Hamilton and fellow Brit Jenson Button were further down, in 12th and 13th - Button in the more favourable position by a mere five thousandths of a second.

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