The End of F1 As We Know It?

June 19, 2009

The Formula One Teams Association (FOTA) today dropped a bombshell on the F1 world: they plan to set up a rival championship, after declining to amend their original conditional entries into the 2010 Formula One World Championship.

The row between FOTA and the FIA has intensified over the last week since the FIA issued their list of competitors for 2010.

Ferrari made that list as ‘unconditional’ entrants, with McLaren, Brawn and Renault among those down as ‘conditional’. The FIA required them to amend the conditions that they had attached to their applications for next season by today, however, after four hours of talks last night ahead of this weekend’s British Grand Prix, FOTA came back in the early hours of the morning saying that the teams would not be lifting their conditions, and they intend to start up a rival championship.

Ferrari, Red Bull and Toro Rosso, who had made the FIA’s list as ‘unconditional’, are among the eight current F1 teams who have issued the threat. And all because the FIA want to impose a £40 million budget cap.

FOTA’s statement has shaken up the sport, and after weeks of threats from the teams, and with no compromise being made, they have taken extreme action, with many fans now saying the only solution is for the FIA to keep the 2009 regulations and enter all the current teams into the 2010 season in order to keep the sport as it is.

The row is the hot topic among many fans on Twitter, with many showing their support with Save F1 Max Out on their profiles. jayegan says: “I’m with FOTA- I’ve wanted Max out for about 3 years now.” MarkF1 says: “If a new series can keep the essence of the sport going it’s a good thing.”

The FIA, however, have issued a statement saying they plan to take immeditate legal action on FOTA, and in particular, Ferrari, who have breached their part of the Concorde Agreement, which was signed in 2007 stating their involvement within the sport until 2012. But this has sparked fury among F1 fans, with the suggestion that it was the FIA who breached the Concorde Agreement to begin with, by not consulting the teams of its plans for a change in the regulations, which in turn led Ferrari to breach their part of the contract.

The breakaway of eight teams could spell the end of Formula One as we know it, with former world champion Fernando Alonso telling the BBC: “Formula One is finished. It will be a standard engine, small teams and no drivers- this is not the Formula One people want.” He added: “The new series will be the new Formula One.”

FOTA’s statement said: “This series will have a transparent governance, one set of regulations, encourage more entrants and listen to the wishes of the fans.” It added: “The major drivers, stars, brands, sponsors, promoters and companies historically associated with the highest level of motorsport will all feature in this new series.”

With teams such as Ferrari and McLaren who have had a role in Formula One for many years- in the case of Ferrari, since the beginning- many fans may believe that F1 is the big teams, and whatever series they participate in, that is F1. If so, how long will the current F1 last? And will the FIA give in to the teams, to protect the integrity of the sport? Whatever happens, the stage is set for one of the biggest fights in the sport’s history… and it’s likely to be a lengthy fight at that… Don’t expect a resolution any time soon.


One comment

  1. I’m appalled with the FIA – and Max’s interview in which he described some of FOTA as loonies was just dreadful. So unprofessional.

    Reports from Silverstone suggested that broadcasters were asked not to mention/show any placards supporting FOTA or politely suggesting that Mr Mosley would do the sport a service by going.

    Ultimately I hope that the sides can get back together and for there to be one championship, but with a decent, fair and open form of governance which I guess requires the removal of Mosley as a minimum.

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