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FOTA faces the public at last
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FOTA faces the public at last
Posted By:   |  18 Feb 2009   |  5:47 pm GMT  |  5 comments

I’ve just been invited to a press conference in Geneva on March 5th, where FOTA president Luca di Montezemolo will outline what the members of the Formula One Teams’ Association have been discussing lately. It’s been very intense behind the scenes, with all the teams heavily involved in discussions covering all areas of the sport.

The invite says, “Luca di Montzemolo, the FOTA president, will make a speech in which he will unveil FOTA’s plans for the future of Formula 1.

These plans are the result of a series of meetings held over the past few weeks and months, all of them with a common goal: to make Formula 1 commercially sustainable, environmentally friendly and compellingly attractive for spectators, TV viewers and internet consumers alike for years to come.”

As I see it, FOTA want to work together with Bernie Ecclestone’s organisation to improve the show, the turnover and the media reach of the sport and collaborate with the FIA and Max Mosley to come up with rules which make F1 sustainable and entertaining. The vibes I get are that both men think that there are some big advantages to dealing with one man, Montezemolo, who represents all the teams, it takes out a lot of the politics and nonsense of the past. That said, the teams’ demands are more than either Mosley and Ecclestone want to give away, so there is a serious negotiation to be had here. Rules wise it’s about 2010 and the longer future, money wise it’s about 2013 onwards, when the current deals expire.

On paper FOTA is the best thing that’s happened to the sport in decades and now FOTA has decided to become more than just a private members club for F1 team members and to become a public facing organisation at last.

Initially the senior FOTA figures I spoke to back in September were not sure whether they would ever become public facing, but now they have decided to deal out on the open, which can only be a good thing for you the fans.

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5 Comments
  1. Stephen Kellett says:

    More good stuff.

    Just wish you had been doing this while you were doing the ITV work. Did your terms of contract with ITV preclude you from doing a blog?

    +1 for refraining from the use of “big” as an adjective in your various posts – ITV got to the point where everything was “big” rather than a more appropriate word. Almost like the language use was really dumbed down towards the end. Really refreshing to see such a change with this blog.

  2. Robert McKay says:

    Hmm. Why do I feel an odd sense of foreboding :-D

  3. john g says:

    is it just me, or has there been a significant difference in the relationship of all the teams since jean todt left and luca di montezemelo came into his role? whereas before everyone felt that the fia and ferrari were joined at the hip, they are now acting like a team with real integrity and questioning the FIA and bernie, yet they remain a team with the same clout.

    the following is taken from autosport, and i agree:

    At present, private equity company CVC Capital has a majority 70 per cent share in the Formula One Group, with the remainder owned by financial services firm JPMorgan and Bernie Ecclestone’s family trust.

    Mateschitz, who owns both the Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Toro Rosso teams, believes this situation is unhealthy for the sport – especially during a time of economic crisis.

    He fears that the financial groups will be more concerned with getting a return on their investment than securing F1′s future.

    “They have neither expertise nor passion about and for motorsport,” Mateschitz told the Deutsche Presse-Agentur news agency.

    “Their engagement, which is natural under the circumstances, is simply a financial one, geared towards maximising profits.

    “It is the teams that are carrying all the financial risk. It is the teams that not only have the necessary competence, they also have the necessary passion for motorsport.

    “There is just one logical and ethically justifiable owner of Formula One and that is the teams. That is the only way that the survival of motorsport is guaranteed on a long-term basis.”

    i think it’s fantastic, and am looking forward to a significant shift in power in f1 – if things stay as they are, with FOTA getting a larger voice in how F1 is run, things can only get better. [ If possible, when you quote from third party media, please help us be clear which section is being reported. Thanks -- Moderator ]

  4. guy says:

    james – fantastic blog as usual. Do you think Mateschitz will ask for an even greater slice (thus breaking ranks from fota) of the cash in view of his recent comments regarding the teams owning f1 – surely he, on a self serving basis, will get a better deal negotiating alone given he owns 22% of the total teams (2 out of 9 – excl honda) rather than negotiating collectively… perhaps that is what bernie wants….. i never could understand why he bought berger out…..

    If Mateschitz walks f1 can’t carry on

  5. I’ll be really interested to hear the outcome of this meeting, and yes it is about time F1 as a sport listened to it’s fans.

    Go Luca!

    James – since you’re there, any chance of a live Twitter session – i’m sure it could be easily done and it would prove massively popular to all of the world’s F1 fans.

    You can embed your tweets into this blog page so we can follow as it happens. If so let us know – F1Badger will promote it to all our readers.

    Enjoy yourself and any sneaky photos of the event would be excellent!

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