Sports Outside the Beltway

Formula One teams announce breakaway series

Ed Hinton of ESPN compares this news to a Force Five Hurricane.

Eight Formula One teams began preparations for a rival series after failing to resolve their dispute with motor sport’s governing body over financial constraints on Friday.

Ferrari, which has participated since the first season in 1950, and current leader Brawn GP headed the list of Formula One Teams’ Association members to announce the split ahead of Sunday’s British Grand Prix.

FOTA, which also includes McLaren, Renault, Toyota, BMW Sauber, Red Bull Racing and Toro Rosso, said it would not compromise on the quality of the series by signing up unconditionally for the 2010 F1 season under the FIA’s plans for cost-cutting. The FIA’s deadline for entry was later Friday.

FOTA’s statement criticized the FIA’s “uncompromising” stance and attempts, along with the commercial rights holder Formula One Management, to divide its member teams.

As it stands, Williams and Force India will be the only current teams on the F1 starting grid next season while three new outfits — Campos Racing, Team US F1 and Manor F1 Team — are also due to enter.

FIA president Max Mosley was insistent on introducing a voluntary $60 million budget cap for teams to curtail a “financial arms race” in F1. Those that don’t agree to the cap would have more technical restrictions, something Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo had called “fundamentally unfair.”

Ferrari’s part in this rebellion differentiates it from past affairs. So the threat of creating another racing series is certainly a serious one.

In the present economic climate, can another racing league be formed and started in a matter of months. Sports around the world are cutting back now. Color me skeptical for the moment. I think a compromise will be worked out.

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