Date:Thursday October 20 2011
The very future of the Formula One Teams Association [FOTA] could be put into question over the next few weeks.
Some would argue that it's a miracle that an alliance between all the teams in Formula One [excluding HRT] has lasted this long anyway, but over the next month it could all come to an end.
Various Formula One teams are at odds with one another over certain regulations, which is no surprise and is far from unusual. But with the teams set for talks ahead of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, many in the media wonder if the latest episode will be the straw that broke the camels back.
One of the key items on that agenda will be the Resource Restriction Agreement [RRA] which has seen some teams question how strict teams have been implementing the agreement.
The RRA is crucial to the idea that Formula One teams are cutting costs, basically giving teams a budget to work towards over the course of a F1 season.
If teams are not sticking to this agreement and are spending more than other teams, they undoubtedly will gain a performance boost, which would be against the spirit of competition.
That question is now being asked and the teams have fallen into an area of mistrust with each other.
'What we have said about RRA is that I think we are in a situation where we take a certain direction, or we recognise that there is an element of mistrust between teams that is not good.
'So what we have discussed is to go to Abu Dhabi to make sure that a solution, a final solution, has to be taken. Ferrari Team principal Stefano Domenicali told Autosport Magazine.
He continued: 'On top of that, what we said is really if this [mistrust] will come out of FOTA activity then what is FOTA all about? We know the reason why FOTA started, and now we need to understand if FOTA is still needed. What are the objectives of the future of FOTA, if there is a future for FOTA?
Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner also holds the same stance, with the back-to-back Formula One constructors world champions leader backing the same view as their rivals Ferrari.
'I think that FOTA has reached the crossroads where it needs to deal with some of the key issues moving forward or we'll stop. It's as simple as that, The principal issues are obviously the Concorde Agreement, the direction that goes in, and fundamentally the RRA. If we can't find agreement within FOTA on that, then what is the purpose of FOTA?' he told reuters.
McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh of course pulls double duty in regards to FOTA, as he has also acted as the chairman for the association over the past couple of years.
He believes FOTA has done a lot of good for Formula One over the last few seasons and would like to see that continue.
'We are an association that generally required unanimity to go forward on lots of these strategic issues and we are a sport full of egos, personalities, competitiveness and paranoia, but so far what has been achieved is fantastic.
'We have genuinely bought costs down for the big teams, we have arrested a number of things - things like DRS came out of FOTA, and things like Fans' Forums, but you can never do enough. F1 doesn't do enough for the fans, it doesn't do enough to promote itself, but FOTA has contributed. he also told Autosport Magazine.
However he also realises that if the teams no longer see the need for the organisation then FOTA's time could be up.
He concluded: 'There are people around who don't want FOTA to be here I am sure, and ultimately the people that count are the teams. So if the teams reach a decision that, for the time being, we don't need it, then great. We will go and do something different.'
Date:Thursday October 20 2011
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