Formula One in disarray again as FIA-FOTA truce collapses
Relations between the FIA and the Formula One Teams Association (FOTA) broke down again today after the so-called ‘FOTA eight’, angry at being robbed of voting rights over next year’s rules, walked out of a meeting with the FIA at the Nurburgring.
The purpose of the meeting was to finalise the rules for 2010 in line with the peace deal that was brokered between FOTA and the FIA at the World Motorsport Council meeting on 24 June in Paris. The two parties agreed to scrap the controversial budget cap and retain the current 2009 rules for 2010, while agreeing to reduce costs to the level seen in the early 1990s within two years.
However, following a timely reminder by FIA President Max Mosely yesterday, FOTA was officially informed today that because it only compromises eight of the thirteen teams that are signed up to the 2010 world championship, it has no say over the regulations.
“During the course of this meeting, the team managers were informed by Mr Charlie Whiting of the FIA that, contrary to previous agreements, the eight FOTA teams are not currently entered into the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship and have no voting rights in relation to the technical and sporting regulations thereof,” FOTA said in a statement.
That prompted an angry reaction from the team representatives who walked out of the meeting with the FIA when asked for their input on the new rules.
The FIA gave their version of events: “The eight FOTA teams were invited to attend the meeting to discuss their further proposals for 2010. Unfortunately no discussion was possible because FOTA walked out of the meeting.”
FOTA were quick to respond by reminding the FIA that: “All eight active FOTA members were included on the “accepted” entry list as endorsed by the FIA World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) and communicated by FIA press statement on June 24.
“In light of these claims, the FOTA representatives requested a postponement of today’s meetings. This was rejected on the grounds that no new Concorde Agreement would be permitted before a unanimous approval of the 2010 regulations was achieved.”
“It is clear to the FOTA teams that the basis of the 2010 technical and sporting regulations was already established in Paris.
“As endorsed by the WMSC and clearly stated in the FIA press statement of 24 June “the rules for 2010 onwards will be the 2009 regulations as well as further regulations agreed prior to 29 April 2009. At no point in the Paris discussions was any requirement for unanimous agreement on regulations change expressed.
FOTA went on to accuse the FIA of putting Formula 1 into jeopardy: “To subsequently go against the will of the WMSC and the detail of the Paris agreement puts the future of Formula 1 in jeopardy.”
“As a result of these statements, the FOTA representatives at the subsequent Technical Working Group were not able to exercise their rights and therefore had no option other than to terminate their participation.”
The breakdown between the FIA and FOTA leaves the sport in disarray once again with renewed fears of a possible breakaway championship led by FOTA and the manufacturer teams.
With the amount of time needed for the three new teams to build next year’s cars quickly diminishing, and indeed too for the current teams, the pressure is on to finalise next year’s regulations, or else plans for a breakaway could quickly gather pace.