So which side is Bernie on?

The fact that Bernie Ecclestone signed a letter to the FIA saying that there is no rush to introduce radical new technical regulations in Formula 1 is rather odd. Ecclestone says that the issue of the rules is tied up with the question of a commercial settlement for Grand Prix racing and that the whole process of negotiation cannot be rushed. This means that Ecclestone is no allying with the teams he is trying to convince to join Ferrari in the brave new world being planned for 2008 and beyond. This may help him build bridges with some of the teams who are not happy with the deal with Ferrari.

The letter from the team bosses says that Bernie Ecclestone has commissioned research and that the teams want to assess the the impact of rule changes for 2005 before going to the negotiating table with Mosley. They also want to consult with the others involved in the business, notably the race promoters.

"Whilst we share your desire to reduce the cost of participating in Formula 1, it is critical that the fundamental values of Formula 1 are preserved to safeguard its long-term stability and success as the pinnacle of world motor sport," the letter said. "Cost-cutting proposals should be evaluated in the wider context of the sport's appeal to its fans."

The teams said that for the time being they recognize the need for stability and say that they will stick to the spirit and the spirit of the existing Concorde Agreement for the remainder of its term.

"We trust that the FIA will do likewise," the letter added.

The relationship between the teams and the federation has been very strained since the cancellation of the meeting in December and recently Minardi boss Paul Stoddart went to see Max Mosley to talk about some of the problems and try to find a way to improve the relationship. We have yet to see the effects of that meeting - if there have been any.

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