Williams were yesterday temporarily suspended from the Formula One Teams' Association. The move comes in the wake of Williams lodging their entry for next year's world championship on Monday ahead of tomorrow's deadline. Explaining the situation, team principal Frank Williams said: "FOTA's decision, although regrettable, is understandable. "However, as a racing team and a company whose only business is Formula One, with obligations to our partners and our employees, submitting our entry to next year's championship was unquestionable.
"In addition, we are legally obliged under our contract with FOM (Bernie Ecclestone's Formula One Management) and the FIA to participate in the world championship until the end of 2012." Williams' move goes against the grain of FOTA's previously unified front in their fight with the FIA over the 2010 regulations. On Sunday, FOTA called on FIA president Max Mosley to scrap the rules for next year that introduce a voluntary £40million (Dh234m) budget cap, which in effect would create a two-tier championship.
Prior to such a radical proposal, it is understood the two sides were slowly moving towards a compromise agreement, with Mosley suggesting an interim cap for 2010 followed by the full cap in 2011. FOTA are conducting their latest meeting today but with Williams now absent, reducing their number from 10 to nine Meanwhile, Kimi Raikkonen believes his podium finish at last weekend's Monaco Grand Prix could provide him with a springboard for the rest of the season.
The Finn, who last finished in the top three at the 2008 Brazilian Grand Prix, believes that Ferrari's efforts are starting to pay off and that a race win in 2009 is now a real possibility, if they continue to improve the F60. "Being back on the podium is a nice reward for the whole team," he said. "The hard work of the last few weeks has finally borne some fruit, which is really positive for all of us. We know that we're on the right way now.
"There are still some minor things to be done but sooner or later we will win. "We'll show up with further improvements of the F60 in the upcoming races and we hope we can then challenge the leaders even more, in the qualifying and in the race." This weekend Raikkonen will take part in the annual Rally della Marca alongside co-driver Kaj Lindstrom. "I'll race in a rally in Italy, in the Marca Trevigiana, and I want to thank the Scuderia that they gave me the possibility to take part in such a competition," said Raikkonen.
"I really enjoy myself and it will be my first experience on the tarmac after some tests on snow last winter." The shakedown for the Italian event will take place on tomorrow ahead of Saturday's race. "As I'm coming from the race track it will be interesting to see what I will be able to do behind the wheel of the Fiat Grande Punto S2000 on the roads close to Treviso," Raikkonen added. * With agencies