New entrants just 'shell companies' - Briatore
(GMM) Flavio Briatore on Friday dismissed small teams vying for budget-capped spots on next year's formula one grid as "shell companies".
In Istanbul, the Renault boss as well as colleagues Stefano Domenicali (Ferrari) and Toyota's John Howett denied suggestions the teams' association FOTA is aggressively and selfishly trying to prevent newcomers from entering the sport.
But Briatore, in the mist of attempting to replace the departing title sponsor ING, expressed frustration that the political situation is being described as a "war" that could result in famous names quitting.
"It is not nice when somebody says that next year Renault will not be in formula one anymore, Toyota is not in formula one anymore and BMW is not in formula one anymore, and in the meantime we are trusting Mike Gascoyne, with all respect to Mike Gascoyne, and Mr. Campos with all respect to Mr. Campos.
"Yet this bunch of shell companies is putting in the entry. I think it is very destructive in a moment we are negotiating with sponsors, with supporters," Briatore said in a news conference.
The Italian's sensitivity about the damage being caused by the crisis was spelled out in his repeated insistence that the standoff with the FIA is not a "war". He uttered the combative word no less than 13 times.
However, it seems increasingly clear that Max Mosley is not going to back down, bolstered by the healthy size of the 2010 entry list, even if the eight remaining FOTA teams do not eventually sign up.
But Briatore believes the sport's grandee names deserve more credit.
"We shouldn't forget an example like Brawn; without Mercedes, they would have no engine for this season. That's quite clear," he said [FALSE - they would have Cosworth].
"We (Renault) have been in formula one the last twenty years and Ferrari for sixty. There is nothing wrong with a new company if it is properly done. It looks like Brabham is just arriving and the family is fighting already. It is only a shell company," added Briatore.
He accuses Mosley of "panicking" after seeing Honda suddenly quit the sport amid the global economic recession. "It's not that urgent to find formula three teams to enjoy formula one," Briatore insisted.
"We're all here. Next year, if everything is normal, I think everybody will still be there."