After months of fighting with the FIA over the proposed £40 million budget cap and the two different sets of technical regulations, it appears as though a solution has been found. All members of the Formula One Teams Association (FOTA) have filed their applications for the 2010 Formula 1 World Championship.
The unified decision by FOTA comes after a last minute amendment to the proposed 2010 agreed upon by FOTA and the FIA. The deal was apparently brokered by Mercedes-Benz Motorsport vice-president Norbert Haug. His proposal is rumoured to have a £100 million budget cap in 2010 followed by a £45 million budget cap in 2011 and a £40 million cap afterwards. The current teams would to commit to running F1 until 2012 and provide technical assistance and cheap car parts to the new teams.
Prior to the announcement that all teams were entering the 2010 championship, Ferrari, Renault, Toyota and the two Red Bull teams had all threatened a boycott of Formula One if the two-tiered rule system wasn’t changed. BMW was also considering a boycott of F1 next season. McLaren, Brawn GP, and Force India hadn’t made a commitment either way while Williams broke rank with other FOTA members and submitted its entry earlier this week.
However, it also appears that the FOTA team entries are conditional. FOTA insists that a new Concorde Agreement, which is the basis of the commercial relationship between Formula One Management (FOM) and FOTA and includes TV rights fees and prize money distributed to teams, must be finalized by July of 2009. Also, they do not want any sweeping changes to the 2010 technical regulations. Instead, FOTA will provide the FIA a list of requested amendments to the rules that must be implemented. The teams also submitted their entries under the conditions that there will only be one set of regulations (no two-tier rules setup) and that all FOTA entries will be accepted or none will.
So far, four new teams have confirmed their entry into the 2010 championship. Team USF1 announced their intention to enter in February and submitted their entry last week. Both Campos and Litespeed submitted their entries last week. Prodrive, headed by former BAR-Honda boss David Richards, submitted its entry on the morning of the May 29th deadline. Prodrive had previously been granted entry into the World Championship as the 12th team for the 2008 season but backed out when customer cars were banned and the company felt they could not afford the costs to be a competitive team.
While it has not been confirmed, it is believed that Lola will submit an entry for the 2010 season as they had previously announced their intention to do so. Lola has some F1 history having last competed in 1997. They attempted to qualify for the season opening Australian Grand Prix but both cars did not qualify under the old “107% rule” and the team withdrew from the championship before the next round.
UPDATE: Lola’s application for the 2010 championship. In addition, Team Superfund has announced their entry into the 2010 F1 World Championship. Former-F1 driver, Alexander Wurz, is connected with the team. This means that there are six teams battling for the three open slots on the grid.