The off-track political situation is revving out of control, with the FIA and Bernie Ecclestone wanting a 40m pounds sterling limit, and big teams like Toyota and Red Bull threatening to leave the sport.

Niki Lauda, a former team owner and triple world champion, has sided robustly with FIA president Max Mosley over the budget caps row.

The off-track political situation is revving out of control, with the FIA and Bernie Ecclestone wanting a 40m pounds sterling limit, and big teams like Toyota and Red Bull threatening to leave the sport.

Lauda dismisses the teams' stance against Mosley as "absolute rubbish", accusing them of being so foolish as to found the FOTA alliance "rather than sign a new Concorde Agreement".

"Now just a piece of paper regulates the entire sport," he said in an interview published by Germany's Sport Bild.

Lauda called the 40m budget cap the "most sensible thing I have ever heard in my life".

"All the teams asked for this," the great Austrian explained, "and now suddenly Ferrari is on the other side. It's totally stupid.

"I see it as a blessing that Mosley and the FIA are so brutally and mercilessly implementing this. The measures are completely reasonable because the 40 million is just for the cars, purely for the technology.

"The drivers' salaries and all the marketing activities are all to the side, so in the end the teams will still have budgets of between 80 to 100 million (euros)," added Lauda.

Moreover, the former Ferrari and McLaren driver claims that the 'two-tier' element of the rules, where teams are still free to spend vast sums but with less technical freedoms than their capped rivals, is simply a clever ploy by Mosley.

"Three years ago Ferrari signed an agreement with the FIA and Bernie, and Mosley is using this (two-tier) situation to be in the clear legally," he said, suggesting that Ferrari was promised basic rules stability.

 

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