Formula One could live without the sport's most famous, successful and longest-serving team, Max Mosley insists. The FIA president's disquieting comments come after war threatened to break out between the Paris body and Maranello-based Ferrari, enraged at the introduction of budget caps.

The furious Italian team has been making subtle noises about quitting F1 over the dispute, even though it issued a statement on Friday saying it wants to avoid "harmful" and "pointless controversy".

Ferrari, the only team to have contested every season of the modern world championship since 1950, is the sport's most evocative name whose absence would be an incalculable blow. But "The sport could survive without Ferrari," Mosley told the Financial Times, although acknowledging the potential seriousness of the loss. "It would be very, very sad to lose Ferrari. It is the Italian national team," said the Briton.

However, Mosley clearly believes that the stakes are too high to gamble the potential "collapse of F1" on the wishes of its most powerful team. He also thinks Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo is simply misguided.

"I hope and think that when a team goes to its board and says, 'I want to go to war with the FIA, because I want to be able to spend 100m (pounds sterling) more than the FIA want me to spend', then the board will say, 'why can't you spend 40m if the other teams can do it?'"

Mosley also suggested that, even if Ferrari does go, his plan will safeguard the long-term participation of other car manufacturers.

"The message I'm getting from the board of two or three of the manufacturers is: 'if you can get it so that the cheque we write is not more than 25m (euro), you can consider this a pretty permanent arrangement'."