F1 Manufacturers in Breach of EU Laws?

The dispute between the FIA and the FOTA (Formula One Teams Association) might become even more complicated following the latest report shown by British magazine AUTOSPORT. It appears the Formula One manufacturer are likely to face legal actions if they won't submit unconditional entries for the 2010 season by June 12.

It seems the FOTA representatives signed an agreement during their Monaco meeting with the FIA officials by which “each of them to paying the others €50m each should they break ranks and enter the World Championship unconditionally,” as stated in the AUTOSPORT report. According to the aforementioned source, it seems the deal signed by the FOTA manufacturers only – independent teams are not subject to it - “could be a breach of the UK's 2002 Enterprises Act and/or EU competition law.”

However, when presented with the idea, Toyota's CEO John Howett insisted that the agreement is a genuine one and has been double-checked by each lawyer (of every manufacturer) before it was signed.

I have to say it's been checked by the lawyers of the teams, by the lawyers of the manufacturers, who are dealing on a daily business with EU competition legislation on anti-trust. I have also been advised that the EU competition department was consulted by one party. So I'm fairly sure that there is no issue,” said Howett, according to the British publication.

The FOTA was given June 9 as a deadline for answering Max Mosley's letter issued on Monday, in which the FIA president asks the teams to lodge unconditional entries for the 2010 F1 championship, while also urging them to give him a clear answer so he can finalize the official entry list for the next season.
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