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F1 breakaway threat forces peace deal
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F1 breakaway threat forces peace deal
Posted By:   |  24 Jun 2009   |  12:37 pm GMT  |  0 comments

Formula 1 looked into the abyss, didn’t like what it saw and has has stepped away from the brink today as a deal has been struck for the FOTA teams to commit to race in F1, ending the threat of a breakaway.

The commitment from the manufacturers and teams appears to be only until 2012, not it would appear the 2014 commitment that Bernie Ecclestone and Max Mosley were looking for from the manufacturers.

Details are still to emerge of the deal and what is entailed, but early indications are that Mosley has agreed not to stand again for office in October. He is afforded a dignified exit in October, having secured what he was looking for, which is lower costs, new teams in the sport and a commitment of sorts from the manufacturers to stay in.

However, he has always maintained that upon his retirement he will be moving on to the FIA Senate and the issue of his successor will be of great interest now, with ex Ferrari boss Jean Todt always considered a candidate. Stability of rules and the re-introduction of the F1 commision in the rule making process will have been a central part of what Montezemolo negotiated.

Thus whoever becomes the new FIA president in October they will play an intrinsic part in the next stage of Formula 1. The teams will be looking for a completely different style of governance and it will be interesting to see what the FIA comes up with.

Mosley pushed the teams to the edge in recent weeks, as the two sides failed to find any compromise over how to control costs in a way which would satisfy both sides. However, by bringing things to a head with the announcement of the breakaway, FOTA has forced a deal to be struck. Sponsors, circuits and TV companies were screaming and it would have caused immense damage for the uncertainty to have lasted long.

FOTA had a powerful hand to play and by making moves to set up their own series, they showed they were serious. There is no doubt that Ecclestone’s partners in the commercial rights ownership, CVC, will have applied intense pressure to find a solution.

“We have agreed to a reduction of costs, ” said Mosley. “There will be one F1 championship but the objective is to get back to the spending levels of the early 1990s within two years.”

This sounds like something around the £40 million mark and the significance of the two years is that it gives the teams the ‘glide path’ they were looking for. There will be mass redundancies in F1, but not all at once, as teams downsize and recalibrate for the future.

Details will emerge throughout the day and the official 2010 entry list is expected to be announced later.

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  1. Kim Andrews says:

    Right, that’s it… a new boss for the FIA is required, and I’m the woman for the job. Where do I apply?

  2. Toby says:

    I am dissapointed that a deal has been struck. I had hoped to see a new championship created which took into account the spectators wishes, i.e. cheaper ticket prices.

    I hope that F1 going forwards from this point thinks more about the spectators than it has done in the past.

  3. phil c says:

    Whilst i agree this is good news, this will not be the end of this saga. There is still an awful lot of money the teams are missing out on, which they are entitled to. The unforunate thing is, we the fans are still getting screwed with over priced grand prix which are not worth going to.

    I think come 2012 the teams will have the same problem.

  4. alex hofstetter says:

    Goodbye Max. Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out

  5. David S says:

    James,
    Overall great news but I continue to be disturbed by mention of Jean Todt, or any ex-F1 team insider, as a potential FIA presidential candidate. The Ferrari trojan horse has no place within the governing body. The same case, of course, would apply to Ron Dennis. I see no reason why a completely neutral business figure could not fulfill this role with no previous affiliation to the sport. Impartiality is absolutely required and needs also to be SEEN to be applied.

    No previous F1 grandees need apply……

    What about yourself for this role….???..you have my vote!

  6. GP says:

    This news leaves me with mixed emotions. It is indeed great news that Mosley is not going to stand for re-election. However, the fact that he will move to a senatorial position is not encouraging. Furthermore, we’re left with Bernie and CVC and that’s horrible news as he will keep pumping money out of the sport and eliminate great circuits. I guess the team principals don’t possess the attachments their drivers do…

  7. Jeremiah says:

    So now its back to usual : racing in deserted grandstands in Arabia or the Far East, while the teams cut costs so that CVC continues to take all that money away from the world of F1.

    Winner : CVC

    Im very dissapointed, if this news is true. If this is the case, I will not turn on my TV again to watch a procession of cars in some remote place that has no racing tradition, just so an investment fund makes a lot of money.

  8. racingpolitics says:

    I can’t see this resolving anything really in the long term. Max will ensure he has control over whoever takes over the teams will be fed up by this time next year, and the merry-go-round will start again.

    Publicly it looks like a great solution, but until firm details emerge to back that up, It looks a lot like the worse possible solution, a small dab of paint to cover a huge chasm in the middle of F1.

  9. Karen says:

    No more Max Mosley! Too bad we have to wait until October. Hopefully now we’ll see the end of last minute rule changes, dictatorial leadership, and better competition. Now if only we could bring back passing in the races…

  10. john g says:

    although the split could potentially have been quite damaging to at least one of the sides, i’m quite disappointed it didn’t happen. i’m not sure quite what FOTA have managed to achieve from this, the cars will be the same as this years (which in terms of providing better racing have clearly failed), the circuits will be the same (i.e. bland concrete tilke-dromes with empty grandstands like bahrain and turkey), bernie will continue to force F1 away from historic circuits (Hockenheim have announced they can’t afford to host F1 anymore). i thought there might have been a chance to open up the stifling regulations. and what has been achieved in terms of governance, or transparency in the FIA? i can’t help but feel a massive anti-climax

  11. Antoine says:

    I wonder whether anything was said about Commercial revenues, it’ll be interesting to see what sort of relationship Allan Donely will have with the FIA after mosley

  12. Kenny says:

    Too bad Max isn’t leaving today, but October is better than nothing.

    I’m sure that everyone involved is sincerely committed to significant cost reductions, but anyone who thinks that they can get back down to 40 million pounds a year is dreaming. That is not going to happen.

    Good. Let’s go racing.

  13. Without the removal of CVC from the arena nothing will happen about ticket costs and historic European circuits like Silverstone remain at serious risk.

    We will also have the continuing nonsense of races like Turkey held in front of empty grandstands while we lose races in Europe that traditionally play to full houses.

    Moseley could still be going to the FIA Senate where he will continue to pull strings and interfere.

    This is not what most fans were looking for.

    A few months of pain would have been worth it to see off both CVC and the FIA.

  14. Michael C says:

    Oh Bum they blinked!! There were some good ideas knocking around on this site – particularly the return of some of the more classic tracks (and perhaps more in Europe rather than the aerodromes designed by Mr Tilke).

    It’s nice to know that there is going to be continuity and hopefully not so much moving of the goalposts going forward – but the much referred to issue of the cost of going to the races is not going to go away under the new (continuing) regime.

    One plea on this theme that I would like to make to the powers that be through your great site James (given the level of debate on this site over the recent fall out I suspect it has been read by many of the parties involved) – is for limited in season testing to form part of any future regime – not only to give the likes of Mclaren to do something with their current dog – but also for the very selfish reason that it is vastly cheaper to go and watch and I can get my ‘F1 engine fix’ at Silverstone at much reduced cost!! I really miss the old Silverstone test days in June

  15. Peter Freeman says:

    Worst news all year. We can only hope FOTA are planning around 2013, 2010 having being just a little too soon to set up a full formula. With the announcement of the demise of the Hockenheim GP today, the consequences of staying with FOM and the direction that sport is going in under FOM is self evident.

  16. rpaco says:

    Pity!

  17. Babur says:

    can’t say i am surprised. any other solution just seemed to ridiculous. would have loved a breakaway series though.

  18. iceman says:

    What’s the betting that in a couple of months’ time Max reneges on his promise to step down and decides to stand for another term?
    I hope FOTA learned from last time and got some sort of legally binding commitment from him.

  19. Gunner says:

    Dignified exit in October..?[mod] That is hard to understand, after all strange games he has been playing recently.

  20. Rory Hawkins says:

    Well Done FOTA.

    I’m very pleased with the way FOTA have shown a strong sense of unity and strength to demonstrate their displeasure with the way Max has been handling this negotiation process, and with the way in which the sport has been run throughout the last few years. The fact that they have been able to force Max and the FIA to compromise is effectively a win for FOTA.

    Let’s hope that with the departure of Max we will see F1 being run with a well regulated and more transparent style of governance, whereby we, the fans, will be able to understand what is going on regarding rules and regulations, and more fans will be attracted to F1. And maybe we can once again enjoy the sport like we used to…

    I look forward to seeing the details of next year’s championship soon.

    PS It was great to hear you conducting the post race press conference after Sunday’s race James, will this be a regular occurrence?

  21. Mike says:

    There doesn’t have to be mass redundancies, because of the natural growth of the new teams, and STR indicating that they were looking to hire new staff to build their independently designed chassis (ie no more RBT parts). Redundancies on a scale of Brawn’s may be expected – but could’ve been greater had a deal not been reached.

  22. Phil Bishop says:

    fantastic

  23. Crispy says:

    Good riddance Max! That’s if he sticks by his word…watch this space.

  24. Manek says:

    I guess this was inevitable – although I for one hoped it would not happen: the commercial pressures were too strong for a breakaway to happen I guess but, from a fan’s point of view, I wanted the series to be about the best technology, the best cars and the best drivers.

    To that end, I’d support a set of much looser regulations. In fact, maybe a budget cap can substitute for the straitjacket designers now find themselves in, to the extent that the cars look so similar that it’s only by colour and logo you can distinguish them.

    Why not let designers choose the engine configuration they want under a capacity ceiling? Why not let them decide what level of aero bolt-ons they want, given that it all adds drag, but within a box that defines the outer edges of the car? Etc etc.

  25. Joaquín Correa says:

    Jean Todt will be ten times as worst as Mosley, If Max gave Ferrari a Veto imagine what this guy will grant them. Can’t Nikki Lauda or a some other true F1 hero run for president?

  26. Jamie Bell says:

    I’m actually very disappointed. I surprise myself a little. I was really looking forward to a new formula – the height of technology – with some of the old school tracks, and cheaper tickets and a change for the positive.

    I still think its ridiculous the price Bernie charges a track to race there, and would have been happier with a FOTA controlled championship. Although each Formula 1 team IS a business, it’s still primarily people who love the sport. Not many enters a F1 team to make money, there are better ways to make money.

  27. Rudy Pyatt says:

    This is disturbing.

    This may end the dispute with MM, but we’ll have to see if changes will be made with the commercial arrangements — and everything that goes with that.

    What leverage now remains against Bernie Ecclestone? How will races be returned to the Americas and to Europe without the threat of a new series? What concessions has CVC made to prevent Bernie from continuing his “government pays the fees or you can’t afford a race” business model — a key question as we also learn today that Hockenheim will no longer receive government funding? Will the teams and private track owners get a fair share of the revenue?

    Pending further information, this looks way too much like the teams just wanted to get rid of Max Mosley. And what prevents him from changing his mind, as he has before, about seeking re-election?

    I hope FOTA keeps up the pressure, but I’m not optimistic that they will. Disappointing.

  28. Finn says:

    Disappointed.

  29. uk visa says:

    F1 is going the way of football.
    Whilst lots of people still enjoy watching it I cannot stand the way the players behave and how they consider themselves so much better than the ref, the fans and everybody else.
    The teams, lead by Ferrari, have now got the power to sack the ref – they’re probably pleased with themselves but I don’t think it’s a good day for F1.

  30. monktonnik says:

    Finally!

    Well it looks as though Max has got pretty much what he wants. I didn’t expect him to stand again until this row blew up, so it is a hollow victory for FOTA if you ask me.

    I feel sorry for the hundreds who will lose their jobs, but I suppose that some of them will find employment in the new teams if they make it to the grid.

    James, do you think that FOTA will welcome Williams and Force India back into the fold now?

  31. Nik J says:

    James, whilst I am very glad this has come to head as it was becoming overpowering, I would be interested in what benefits for the fans will be forthcoming, my expectation is none. The reason I ask this is because both parties played the fan card in recent days with rumours of reduced admission costs, better coverage and a return to glorious tracks from the past that the F1 fans had a real affinity with. The reason my expectation is none, is that money will count and not the sporting spectacle.

    My second point is, if there are new smaller teams now able to join F1, there should be a migration of talent from the ‘displaced’ staff at the current F1 teams.

  32. ram says:

    I feel like there are no men in f1.
    No ballz.
    so now fota(what a joke)will get back in line,processional races,high ticket prices,
    Sado max won.Congrats you sissies.
    The boys who cry wolf……………..

  33. PaulL says:

    Todt for FIA president.. does that concern anyone? I’d be concerned about his neutrality having been closely associated with Ferrari for so long.

  34. The Flying Finn says:

    Its a great relief to hear that F1 will remain as we know it for next year and Max is able to exit in a dignified manner. Both sides are able to claim victory as FOTA got their wish and Max got the cost reduction that he wanted in place. As much as the backlash against the man at the moment, I think that years down the line when we look back we will see that what he has put in place has probably saved F1 and made it into a more viable proposition going forward. What would be good to see now that we have the cost reductions in place is a relaxing of the technical regulations so that we can let engineering ingenuity florish again which is the essence of the sport. A couple of questions still lingers in my mind, first is that Prodrive has been surprisingly quiet. I had thought that it would be used as a credible reserve team to leverage the FIA’s position, but now that the new list is published and they are still not there, what happens? Second we will find out whether the whole FOTA campaign was really about removing Max, or is it more about Bernie and the commercial income… time will tell but I don’t think we have read the end yet…

  35. knoxploration says:

    Great news, and perhaps the best of it is that we won’t have to deal with Mosley’s meddling for very much longer.

    It seems likely that what’s been agreed is exactly what FOTA had been proposing weeks ago if not longer – in which case Max will go down in history as the man who needlessly played chicken with a freight train, and predictably lost.

  36. Freeman says:

    Hi James,

    This is good news indeed. I’m sure I’m not alone in celebrating to see the back of Max (that is if he doesn’t do another u-turn).

    Do you know if Cosworth is still running unlimited revs or 18,000rpm same as everyone? It’s hugely unfair if they are unlimited.

  37. guy says:

    Now all of this is over we’ll have nothing to talk about, oh, except the racing………

  38. The Kitchen Cynic says:

    A tenner says he tries to cling on in October.

  39. Leftie says:

    Well, this is what everybody was talking about. Some mudslugging in the public, this time with a lot more loud statements, to settle it all down in the end. Nobody’s going nowhere, as predicted. This is how negotiations in formula one works, we saw a great example. How can we, fans, believe in what they are all saying from now on?

    Even knowing that the agreement reached is a best possible compromise for everybody i feel dissapointed by the outcome, to be honest.

  40. rob says:

    So pleased that peace has been found; one question for me though is what is going to happen with the regs for next year? I hear they will be very similar to 2009, but what about refuelling & KERS?

  41. Alex T says:

    Why is it that I don’t feel happy about this resolution, which safeguards F1′s future?

    As a long-term fan, it leaves a very bitter taste.

    There’s only one party that goes up in my estimation – Williams – as they seem to have been the only party to act with any honour or dignity.

  42. Hammad says:

    Nooo… this will alienate so many fans. Most of us were looking forward to a new series with the right values… older values lost ages ago.

  43. Snail says:

    I am disappointed. They lit the fuse paper, they should have allowed it to burn and take those sitting under it with them.

    Two things in your report concerns me:
    1) However, he has always maintained that upon his retirement he will be moving on to the FIA Senate

    Does this allow Mosley to interfere from the sidelines and “even the score” with those he deems to be the ringleaders that he will have seen as having organised his removal?

    2) No mention of a more equitable distribution of the F1 income stream to something more akin to what other sports do (> 90% going to the participants, not 50%).

    Consequences:
    a) We’ll still have Max on the sidelines, most likely try to even the score.

    b) We’ll have the potential for some more FIA shenanigans interfering with F1.

    c) No idea who the successor will be and if Max’s invisible hand will be guiding them in their decisions.

    d) We’ll still have the awful biased FIA decision making. No doubt McLaren and a few other teams are going to get some very unfair decisions aimed at them as payment for this.

    e) As a result of (d) this means the chance to change the stewards to people that know what they are doing has now gone.

    f) Bernie and his arbitrary, money based, decision making system is still with us. F1 races at unaffordable prices in unvisitable places with no fans.

    g) What of the “new” teams, can they still afford to enter and compete? If not now, in 2 years time?

    A golden chance for change and improvement, gone. Thats a shame. I hope I’m wrong, but I think it’ll be back to business as usual (in all the wrong ways) before too long.

  44. Leo Allen says:

    Many years ago a very senior manager in my world told me, ‘Listen son, forget all the amateur dramatics, the posturing, the idiots running around telling you the sky is falling…just find out what a man WANTS.

    When you get down to that level ( and only then ) will you at last know what you’re dealing with. And until you get down to that basic truth, finding solutions will be like trying to nail jelly to the walls.’

    And all this F1 hyper-drama…. ? so much wall-jelly …..

  45. Phil says:

    I have to admit I’m somewhat disappointed. it seems like every time there’s a threat to stick it to the man that no one has the guts to make it stick.

    Nothing is really going to change. F1 will still be filled with drama, politics and concealed fortunes being made by the wrong people.

  46. Jimmi says:

    Hi James, first time commenting, although I enjoy this blog.

    I’m pleased that we seem to be inching towards some sort of resolution, as I have been despairing of Formula One lately. But talk of Mosley stepping down has sent my imagination whirring into who will be his successor.

    I feel that the easy money is on Jean Todt, despite his noises in the past against it, although I would quite like the irony if Ron Dennis placed himself into the running…

    What I really wanted to say though, is the possibility of an ex-driver finally attaining some sort of position of power and being his successor? Someone who has shed blood, sweat and tears for the sport in the cars rather than in the boardroom. I’m not necessarily putting this name forward for certain, but I think a Gerhard Berger type could be good for the sport. He’s long retired, immensely experienced, respected and (since he sold his stake) financially impartial.

    It’s about time F1 was governed by racers rather than businessmen.

  47. Hammad says:

    Oh another thing, with the totalitarian way Mosley’s been running the sport, what ‘s to stop him going back on his word in October? The teams would have committed to the sport then…

  48. Nik Black says:

    FIA wins, FOTA wins but the fans lose

    FOTA exploited the bad feelings fans have towards FOM and the FIA. They have now sold us out after promising cheaper costs, better access (online!), better tracks, better racing with new rules and no more silliness where tracks are selected on a racing rather than an economic basis.

    Extremely disappointed that after such an opportunity we just go back to the old corrupt F1. At some point the teams will realize that all they have achieved is to reverse the absolutely ridiculous decisions that Max/Bernie have tried to enforce in the past 6 months. We are back to exactly where we were 12 months ago (with Max promising to leave).

  49. john g says:

    as the head of the FIA is much more than just F1, it wouldn’t be appropriate for an ex-F1 boss to step in. either you need someone that can look after all the activities (richard parry-jones comes to mind) or they ned to split their functions into racing and others, in which case people like jackie stewart or stoddy could come in.

    i think ferrari have come on in a massive way since they lost todt from their operation – the guy was as bad as mosely and it would achieve nothing to put him in there.

    to me this looks like quite a depressing situation – hopefully FOTA can still rescue F1 from the FIA

  50. James Allen says:

    That is one of the details, along with refuelling, KERS etc. There is a huge amount of work to do to get the Cosworth on the level of the current benchmark engines, which is why the 20,000 rpm idea was mooted. Meanwhile what’s to stop the new teams from approaching Renault, Ferrari, Mercedes and Toyota about a supply of their engines?

  51. James Allen says:

    I think that’s a very good point, Nik. Do you think they would be encouraging Bernie to ask for less money from circuits or to maintain the classic circuits?

  52. James Allen says:

    I should hope so. FOTA is a strong body and it has proved it is the right body for dealing with the FIA and Bernie. They should also admit the three new teams.

  53. James Allen says:

    Yes

  54. monktonnik says:

    That is excellent news.

    I was worried about what would happen as I assumed Peter Windsor would have to stop.

    There couldn’t be anyone better.

  55. Steven says:

    Bet you’re pleased about that James!

  56. Leftie says:

    that’s actually the best news of the day. congratulations, James.

  57. Ray.C. says:

    ‘ Hope Jonathon Legard starts an F1 racing team.

  58. Peter Freeman says:

    Or one could say that they betrayed FOTA and all that is good for F1. One could say that they openly embraced the rule of FOM and the FIA that has been slowly killing the sport for decades. One could say that with cowardice and no integrity Williams abandoned ship at the first wave over the bow. One could say that Williams care nothing at all for anyone but themselves…

  59. Nik J says:

    I guess James it won’t be high on their list of priorities. What is interesting is the level of dissapointment on this site from the fans who were looking forward to possible reduced costs or the old tracks making a return. Hopefully your site carries this message to the decision makers.

  60. Neil says:

    Good post, until you used Lauda as an example! He’s not exactly without links to Ferrari!

    I think an outsider to replace Max. Someone with no relationship to any team, past or present. (So sorry Ron!)

    Neil.

  61. graham says:

    I think a vital proviso for admittance into FOTA is that no team is allowed to enter into an independent deal with FOM or the FIA. The teams must always remain as a unit and not allow differing contractual relationships with the FIA or FOM. This is vital for them to have any negotiating power. The terms of the new Concorde agreement must be public, transparent and the sole document that defines the roles of the teams, the FIA and the FOM. Within those defined roles each is allowed to conduct their affairs unmolested. Bernie and CVC can delegate administration as they please each other. The FIA can be the rules referee and safety overseer ONLY.

    Internally within FOTA they can have their confidential deliberations and even require a 75% super majority for certain decisions. For example, BMW wanted to retain KERS but went with the rest of the teams for sake of unity. If they teams allow themselves to be divided by FOM of FIA tactics, they will deserve the raw deal they get.

    Any breach of the new Concorde Agreement will free all parties immediately. Should the FIA fail to provide competent stewards and swift, equitable tribunals and an honest appeals mechanism, then all parties are free to disband. Should the FOM ever withhold payments to any single team, then all teams are unbound and free to go. There will be a separate points system for commercial funds distribution that awards even the small teams a certain share of “appearance money” and these points are paid down to the last finisher so the car that finished 18th gets more money than the one in 19th etc. This system is between the teams and FOM, once in place it cannot be changed without full agreement between FOM and FOTA (as expressed by FOTA’s internal 75/25 vote for example).

    The teams will also have a championship points scheme that cannot be changed except by a full agreement by both parties. The FOTA 12 pt. system should be adopted in 2010 as a start. No more talk about medals, wins etc. except in internal deliberations between FOTA and the FIA. No more unilateral impositions.

  62. graham says:

    Stoddart or Dennis for FIA Rres. (RD is equitable and would just as soon rule against Mac as he would rule against Ferrari in any matter. So is FW. There is something “proper” about a certain breed of Brits and these men have it.)

    Watch out for Purcell, Donnelly, or some of Max’s disciples. We need a new fresh face from outside the FIA. Stewart hasn’t the administrative skills. Maybe even an American like a Penske, if he had the time and ambition, because the American mindset strongly considers the fans and values democratic input.

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