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Mourning Ferrari boss skips meeting

FERRARI president Luca di Montezemolo, who has threatened to pull his team out of Formula One unless the 2010 rules are changed, missed yesterday's crisis talks with Max Mosley after the death of his father.

The Italians were represented by team boss Stefano Domenicali.

The meeting with the International Automobile Federation (FIA) president will seek to end a standoff that threatens to tear the sport apart.

"I think this is a very important day, I think everybody feels we need to find a solution that makes sense for independent teams, manufacturers and the FIA," Williams chief executive Adam Parr told reporters.

"Unfortunately we had an opportunity 12 months ago to do it in a more flexible and gentle way, and I fear time is running out."

The FIA wants an optional 40 million pound (US$60.50 million) cost cap, offering greater technical freedom than available to those teams staying on unrestricted budgets, that they say is needed for the sport's survival amid the financial crisis.

Ferrari, and former champion Renault, say that will lead to a two-tier championship that they cannot accept and have both threatened to leave. Toyota and Red Bull's two teams have also said they cannot submit their entries by the May 29 deadline for the same reasons.

Formula One needs Ferrari but the Italian glamor team also needs the sport, something that commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone has been at pains to point out.

"I must be clear that we, Ferrari and the others have no intention of breaking with FIA," Renault team boss Flavio Briatore said on Thursday. "We want to be there, to participate, to preserve the future."

Several would-be newcomers have expressed an interest in joining the championship if the cap stays in place. Chassis maker Lola said it was forging ahead with its project in the expectation of the budget cap remaining.


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