Date:Wednesday February 8 2012
At the end of the 2011 season, the Formula One teams did what they do best, which was to take the spotlight off the track and on to the off the track politics.
For some it adds intrigue and more discussion topics to the sport, for [most] others its one of the main annoyances of Formula One.
The spectators do not really care too much for who has signed up to a cost cutting agreement and who hasn't, they are simply interesting in entertaining races and championship battles.
But unfortunately the argument over Resource Restriction Agreement (RRA) is a big deal in Formula One.
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.
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. If that was the case then they undoubtedly would gain a performance boost, which would be against the spirit of competition.
With that question being asked, the teams had fallen into an area of mistrust with each other, which caused a rift in FOTA.
Up until the end of last season, the alliance between all the teams in Formula One [excluding HRT] had remained, but over the winter, Ferrari, Red Bull Racing, Scuderia Toro Rosso and Sauber all announced that they were leaving the group, throwing FOTA into limbo.
Over the past couple of months nothing has really changed, doubts over the future of FOTA remain and yet all the teams, including the ones which recently withdrew, are still in dialogue and working together.
'FOTA was created in 2008 by car manufacturers to fight against some people and to maybe go for a breakaway series - that story we know,' Lotus team principal and FOTA vice-chairman Eric Boullier told Autosport Magazine at a Lotus launch event in Jerez earlier this week.
'FOTA today faces a different challenge, and to understand if FOTA is relevant, that is the first question. The second question is, what do we want to achieve with FOTA? I think this question has been asked, and we have got a proper answer now.
'Even the teams who have resigned from FOTA are still working with FOTA, in terms of factory shutdown, testing agreement, and RRA. So, from that perspective, there will be no change.
'So at least if we can still work on making F1 better, more sustainable and help F1 to be better, that is what FOTA should be.'
Sauber CEO Monisha Kaltenborn explained their position to Autosport adding: 'We are respecting the agreements that were signed under FOTA, even though legally they are not depending on us being a member of FOTA or not – like the RRA. We also agreed on the factory shutdown this year which is again done under FOTA originally.
'So getting out of FOTA does not mean that we have just broken all contacts over there. We had our reasons [for leaving] which we explained to FOTA, but that does not stop us cooperating with other teams.'
Date:Wednesday February 8 2012
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