F1 teams avert budget-cap standoff

GENEVA -- All 10 Formula One teams met Friday's deadline to enter cars for the 2010 season, ending a threatened pullout by Ferrari and others in a dispute over a planned budget cap.

The Formula One Teams Association said it submitted conditional entries from nine teams -- Brawn, BMW Sauber, Ferrari, Force India, McLaren, Red Bull, Renault, Toro Rosso and Toyota. The 10th team on the 2009 grid, Williams, lodged its entry earlier this week.

Ferrari, Renault, Red Bull, Toyota and Toro Rosso had threatened to withdraw from F1 next season if governing body FIA goes ahead with plans to introduce a voluntary $60 million budget cap.

Teams accepting the cap would be given more technical freedom, creating what the larger teams fear will be a two-tier championship.

FOTA said in a statement that its members confirmed a "long-term commitment" to the racing series.

All 10 teams "unanimously agreed further and significant actions to substantially reduce the costs of competing in the championship in the next three years," it said.

FOTA did not comment directly on FIA's budget cap plan. Under a reported compromise, the 2010 season could start with teams operating under a $140 million cap in exchange for sharing technology with new teams. The $60 million cap would be deferred until 2011.

Williams broke ranks on Monday by lodging its 2010 entry and was temporarily suspended from FOTA.

The condition of the entry applications was that a new financial agreement between the teams, Bernie Ecclestone's F1 management company and FIA is signed by June 12, commiting the teams' participation until 2012.

"The renewal of the Concorde Agreement will provide security for the future of the sport by binding all parties in a formal relationship that will ensure stability via sound governance," FOTA said.

The teams also want technical specifications for 2010 cars to operate on the basis of the current season's rules.

FOTA officials delivered the applications to the Geneva administrative office of Paris-based FIA.

Meantime, FIA also received an application Friday from the British team Prodrive.

It would become the third new entrant, following Spain's Campos Racing and Team US F1. Lola has also expressed interest in returning.

If accepted by the FIA, the Kuwaiti-backed Prodrive would likely operate under that brand for two seasons before switching to Aston Martin by the start of 2012.

FIA has set a maximum of 26 cars in next year's championship compared to 20 this season, when the sport has been hit hard by the global economic downturn.