Formula One has been thrown into chaos after eight of its major racing teams said Friday they are now planning to set up a rival championship for the 2010 season. The threat by members of the F1 Teams Association (FOTA) escalates their dispute with world motorsport boss Max Mosley over his budget cap proposal.
The world of top class motor racing may sound very different next year as Formula One deals with its biggest crisis in 60 years.
Heated debate over the past few months between the racing's governing body, the FIA, and the Formula One Teams Association has resulted in a stalemate.
At issue, the FIA wants to impose a voluntary budget cap of around $65 million per team per year that it says is necessary to keep the sport viable during these tough economic times.
But most of the teams do not like the financial restrictions. They have banded together and barring any last minute compromise, they plan on setting up a rival racing series next year.
Former Formula One boss, Eddie Jordan says if that happens, it would spit the sport in two.
"Eight teams have joined together which is a very strong team led by Ferrari and a rival championship which I think would be disastrous," he said.
Many believe the market would not be big enough to support two separate top-class racing bodies.
The idea of imposing a team budget cap began after Honda pulled out of Formula One racing last December citing costs.
But Jordan says despite the tough economic times, many of the remaining teams do not want to be limited by how much money they can spend.
"They feel that they are very able to sustain what they have at the moment and why should they be controlled by the FIA when there is actually no need for it," he said. "The FIA are there to legislate the rules and regulations not the financial justification of their involvement."
One time McLaren assistant team manager Tony Jardine says he believes there is still time, even now, to work out some sort of a compromise between the FIA and the rebel teams.
"Just hope that real common sense and a sense of compromise at the end of the day will mean that we have one championship, one set of regulations for 2010 and we can get on with it because formula one is massive worldwide," said Jardine.
Earlier in the week, the FIA accused teams of wanting to take over the sport.
Team bosses say it is now up to FIA president Max Mosley to make a gesture to avoid a split.
If the new racing series does go ahead, participating teams promise to listen to the wishes of fans, they say there will be more transparent governance and they say they will encourage more entrants.