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FOTA folds with a whimper

The Formula One Teams Association [FOTA] has folded with a whimper.

The group lasted six years after it was formed in 2008.

The group was formed during a time of turmoil for Formula One, the economic downturn had seen Honda exit the sport, whilst BMW and Toyota were soon to follow.

Then FIA President Max Mosley was also moving to push through a stringent budget cap, something the teams were strongly opposed too.

As FOTA, the Formula One teams instead agreed to their own 'Resource Restriction Agreement' [RRA], limiting costs on their own terms.

However by 2011 the Formula One teams did what they do best, which was to take the spotlight off the track and on to politics and infighting.

The argument over implementing the Resource Restriction Agreement (RRA) in Formula One proved a complicated task.

The RRA was seen as crucial to the idea that Formula One teams were cutting costs, but towards the end of the 2011 Formula One season, some teams were doubting whether their rivals were actually sticking to this agreement and were possibly spending more than other teams.

The very thought that this could be the case was enough to rip through FOTA with disharmony arguing over the possibility that some teams were gaining an unfair performance boost, which would be against the spirit of competition.

The rift in FOTA was clear, Red Bull Racing and Ferrari against the rest.

Up until the end of that 2011 season, the alliance between all the teams in Formula One [excluding HRT] had remained, but over the winter of 2011, Ferrari, Red Bull Racing, Scuderia Toro Rosso [Red Bull's sister team] and Sauber [Ferrari powered] all announced that they were leaving the group, throwing FOTA into limbo.

Over the past couple of years nothing has really changed, doubts over the future of FOTA remained and yet all the teams, including the ones which withdrew, were still in dialogue and working together with a fresh new Concorde Agreement signed last year.

The straw that appears to have broken the camel's back has been the shake-up at McLaren.

FOTA's Chairman is McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh, whose position within the team is currently in limbo after a managerial restructure.

FOTA's Deputy Chairman was former Lotus team principal Eric Boullier, but following his switch from Lotus to McLaren he has stood down from his role within FOTA.

FOTA's secretary general Oliver Weingarten told the BBC: 'I can confirm that FOTA has been disbanded as a result of insufficient funds to continue and a lack of consensus among all the teams on a revised, non-contentious mandate.'

FOTA's lack of funds follows some teams refusing to pay last year's membership fees.

Whilst the groups closure leaves question marks over who will now administer RRA agreement, to ensure that teams are sticking to the guidelines of a legally-binding document and who will organise the three extra in-season test sessions which have been added to the 2014 Formula One calendar.








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The Journalist

Writer: Red5 Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Saturday March 1 2014

Time: 12:00PM

 

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