London, Friday: As the Formula One world awaits the announcement of F1’s 2010 entry list, it has emerged that a last-minute meeting aiming to commit the rebelling FOTA teams to next year’s world championship had to be abandoned as striking London Underground workers prevented top F1 officials from arriving at the talks.
The meeting was set to be held in an undisclosed central London location, but with the Tube network practically shut down as workers protest over pay and jobs, the capital was gridlocked. Ferrari’s Stefano Domenicali arrived at the arranged location half an hour late, to find he was the only person present.
“The traffic was diabolical,” the team principal of the Scuderia remarked. “Everywhere you looked, people were obeying red lights, staying in lane and not even running over cyclists. It was like being in some kind of nightmare. Eventually I got my driver to mount the kerb and get us here quicker, but it looks like there was no point.”
Unconfirmed reports suggest that Renault team boss Flavio Briatore suffered from an extreme attack of road-rage on the streets of the capital, driving repeatedly over some kind of concrete post by the side of the road for some reason.
F1 commercial boss Bernie Ecclestone blamed London mayor Boris Johnson for the chaos, suggesting that allowing the capital to get in such a state was “unacceptable,” and warning that he should have negotiated more sympathetically with union leaders. The irony of this statement was apparently lost on Ecclestone, though he also called for the Mayor or London “to give me my wig back.”
FIA President Max Mosley was also unable to attend the meeting, with aides revealing that he had been “tied up in Chelsea” and declining to comment further. Not that anyone actually wanted to know.
With no progress in negotiations, most are confident that today’s announcement of the 2010 entry list will not be the end of the story.