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Teams insist on “right to spend selves into oblivion”

Paris, Saturday: The Formula One Teams’ Association last night entered the 2010 F1 world championship, on the condition that the FIA back down from its plans to intervene in the teams’ financial affairs.

The FIA wants to protect the future of the sport by mandating a stringent budget cap on all teams, but FOTA have suggested that such a move is a gross violation of their rights as independent businesses.

Demanding: FOTA vice president John Howett

Demanding: FOTA vice president John Howett

“If we want to spend so much money that the whole team is financially unsustainable, that’s our prerogative,” FOTA vice president and Toyota team boss John Howett told reporters. “The FIA has no right to try and ensure against the financial collapse of teams. Whether or not we choose to implode thanks to extravagant budgets and massively inflated costs is a business decision, and will be taken by us. Not by some tinpot regulatory body.”

The FIA have pointed out that huge spending for little return, in a time of global economic recession, could spell disaster for Formula One, whose costs have spiralled almost out of control since an influx of car manufacturers joined the sport about a decade ago. But FOTA believe that, if such a disaster is to happen, it should be allowed to happen on its own terms.

“We will spend as much as we like and publicly ridicule those who disagree,” one senior member of FOTA, who shall remain nameless, pointed out while suspiciously eyeing up a nearby television set. “And then, when the sport gets into trouble, we will blame the FIA for not controlling costs well enough. It’s really a very simple concept.”

Howett later pointed out that the fundamental right of Formula One teams to spend themselves into insolvency had been exercised by the Super Aguri team, and no one thought to deny them such a right back then: “In fact, Honda were positively thrilled.”

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