As Formula One prepares today for the latest deadline to settle once and for all who will be racing in the series next year, one of the team bosses who has already signed up for the 2010 season is confident that all of his rivals will sign up. Sir Frank Williams expects teams such as Ferrari, McLaren and BMW to be on the grid next season with his Williams team despite the row over regulations and a budget cap planned by the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) that has seen the Formula One Teams Association (FOTA) threaten to leave the sport
"I've seen all this before - it's just a rite of passage," he said. "It's just one of those things - it's F1 behaviour. It's sort of cyclical but I expect everything to be much the same on the grid next season." Williams, 67, has had a team in the sport for 32 years and his, along with Force India are the only two of 10 current teams to have signed up unconditionally to race in the series next year, with the FIA having already accepted entries from new teams Campos Grand Prix, Manor Grand Prix and Team US F1.
The FIA have given McLaren, Brawn, Renault, Toyota and BMW until today to sign up unconditionally for the 2010 season, with the FIA president Max Mosley offering to discuss and change the planned rules, but only if the teams sign up first. Ferrari, Red Bull and Toro Rosso have already been accepted for next season by the FIA, even though the trio of teams claim their entries are provisional. The main rule that has upset FOTA is a planned £40million (Dh239m) budget cap, but Mosley has indicated that the budget could be increased to £85m for next year, decreasing more for 2011, but the teams will have to commit to the sport first before those regulations are amended.