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FIA responds to FOTA breakaway
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FIA responds to FOTA breakaway
Posted By:   |  19 Jun 2009   |  10:52 am GMT  |  29 comments

Max Mosley arrived in the Silverstone paddock midway through this morning’s free practice session and went straight into Bernie Ecclestone’s motor home.

The announcement by FOTA of a breakaway series is no surprise to him, indeed he will have been expecting this. He has a huge appetite for this fight and he knows what a huge undertaking it would be to start a new racing series. The FIA put out a brief reaction earlier today as follows:

“The FIA is disappointed but not surprised by FOTA’s inability to reach a compromise in the best interests of the sport. It is clear that elements within FOTA have sought this outcome throughout the prolonged period of negotiation and have not engaged in the discussions in good faith.

“The FIA cannot permit a financial arms race in the Championship nor can the FIA allow FOTA to dictate the rules of Formula One.

“The deadline for unconditional entries to the 2010 FIA Formula World Championship will expire this evening.

“The 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship entry list will be announced tomorrow. ”

There is a grim determination about the FOTA members. They have decided to pull the trigger and now they await the full reaction from the FIA. This is likely to involve an entry list for 2010 which features Williams, Force India, Ferrari, Red Bull and Toro Rosso along with USF1, Manor and Campos, with another five teams from the list of teams hoping to enter, such as Prodrive.

The atmosphere here at Silverstone is febrile. It’s going to be a dramatic day. The FIA press conference at 3pm will be interesting with four team principals, Brawn Horner (Red Bull), Parr (Williams) and Whitmarsh (McLaren).

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29 Comments
  1. Alexx says:

    Hi James

    I would like to hear your opinion on the following.

    My opinion is that fans enjoy and support the teams, drivers and the personalities of the sport of racing. That is what makes it exciting and benificial to sponsors. That what makes F1, F1.

    They don’t follow the FIA and administration boring old people who should be kept behind closed doors ( MAX ).

    Why havent any of the sponsors of the teams spoken to the FIA about market value of the teams and not FIA dominance.

    How many people own team merchandise from Ferrari or McLaren or BMW, no-one owns FIA merch! haha

    I think Max is forgetting who is the market (us) and who are the brands. (Teams)

    Doesn’t he realize he is only office admin at best!

  2. Scott Brown says:

    What are the chances that this may mean that Brawn, McLaren, Toyota, Renault and BMW might end up without a series to race in next year?

    If the FIA are correct and Williams, Ferrari, Force India and the Red Bull teams are either signed up or contractually obliged to race what will happen to the others if they find their spaces filled by Prodrive, Brabham and the like on the entry list tomorrow? Surely if a team’s included on the list they’ll begin preparing for the season – recruiting, designing etc. They can’t be expected to outlay all that money to have their place taken back from them when McLaren or BMW or whoever decide to come to an agreement.

  3. Ewan says:

    Do you think Lola, Prodrive and NTechnology will now be invited to join the FOTA series? That would scupper the FIA F1 series.

    They’re surely not bound by the FIA entry as they’ve not been accepted yet – if I were them, I’d be withdrawing my entry ASAP before FIA starts claiming that they have been accepted into F1.

  4. Andrew says:

    I wonder how much longer Max Mosley can possibly hang on in his position through all of this. This is purely all down to his bad management, pride and arrogance.
    He’s now resorting to tactics that are obvious to everyone – trying to divide FOTA by continually suggesting there are ‘elements’ in the group trying to disrupt everything.
    Is there anyone that wants Max to stay? Also, as far as I can remember, he was pretty ignorant of what fans wanted despite the survey they conducted recently.
    To sum up, I know that if FOTA do set up another championship, that’s the championship that I’ll be watching.

  5. ade says:

    One thing that concerns me is who will handle the UK television coverage should this proposed breakaway series actually happen. Bernie always made sure F1 was on free-to-air channels to ensure maximum coverage.

    In the current economic climate I can’t see our commercial channels affording FOTA’s product and the BBC won’t want to be seen spending cash on two competing motor-racing series.

    I can’t help shaking the suspicion that whatever this new series is called, it will be inevitably be shown on Sky and at a price.

    Looks like I’ll be watching Kazuki Nakajima winning the 2010 F1 World Championship on the Beeb next year then…

  6. Charlie says:

    Brawn Horner sounds like an advertising agency!

    The two questions are: Can FOTA sort out a full championship for next year? I think it will be difficult but entirely possible.

    Second, can FIA back down now? It doesn’t seem to be in Max’s instincts to do so. The one ace that he still holds is suing Ferrari and Red Bull for breach of contract. But that will be a Pyrrhic victory if F1 is running next year with only Williams and Force India. The other option is for factions within FIA to usurp Max and bring it all back together. Given how cowtowed the FIA members seem to be to Max (I often wonder who they are and if they actually have any opinions at all) this seems unlikely.

    By my estimation then I think FOTA have the advantage and the FIA are facing the destruction of their empire.

    “May you live in interesting times.”

  7. I don’t see the ‘elements within FOTA’ achieving anything other than the death of racing at the highest level.
    If we were privy to the plans of those ‘elements within FOTA’ for the future I think we’d be seriously underwhelmed… I think they know they want more money but they don’t have any more idea than that.
    Sad days for F1 and motor racing generally.

  8. Steve says:

    Just want to say how much I’ve been enjoying reading your blog this season, this is now a must-read site for me. :-)

    As far as the current situation, I’ve been reading all the various news reports about the breakaway series and I’m not seeing a lot being said about Bernie and FOM.

    A lot of the issues around money in F1, for example the onerous licenses and contracts for the circuits or the flow of money from TV rights. These issues are intrinsically linked to the way Bernie has organised the business structure of F1.

    If the FOTA are serious about changing the way this structure is organised then really they should be going after Bernie and FOM. But to date Bernie seems to be being treated with kid gloves by FOTA. They’re doing a pretty fair old job of portraying Mosley as a despot and making the issue pointlessly personal with him but FOTA seem to be rather reticent to directly attack Bernie and FOM.

    Mosley and the FIA are an easy target, but I’d argue that if FOTA is series about they changes they seek then they should be attacking Bernie and FOM. That’s where the money is.

    I’d argue that if they want a new F1 they need to rid themselves of Bernie. If in the coming weeks or months they end up forming some sort of alliance or partnership with Bernie then it’s essentially the status quo and nothing much will change.

    James – do you have any thoughts on Bernie and his role in this ungodly mess?

  9. Don says:

    Max Mosley is living in Cuckooland and must be gotten rid of is the FIA want to keep the FOTA teams in F1 racing.

  10. Howard Hughes says:

    I was wacthing the news at 4am and saw this glide across the bottom of the screen in a ticker tape. I was stunned, but happily so. Brilliant news. Loving it.

  11. Tomek says:

    a little offtopic, but with having english as not my primary language I wonder if this sentence is gramatically correct: “The announcement by FOTA of a breakaway series is no surprise to him, indeed he will have been expecting this.” – the use of “will” causes quite a headache for me :) is it a mistake or some construction I am not aware of or not understand fully (some strange case of future perfect continous??), thanks

  12. Phil Bishop says:

    will the press conference be covered live James? Please twitter it (tweet it?)

  13. RB says:

    Obviously, the FOTA teams cannot lose face and capitulate at this point.

    I think fans would actually watch a few FiA races on the television out of curiosity, but what about the track owners? Who would buy a ticket to see the contest between Williams, Force India and the new unknown entrants?

    Is that worth 200-500 Euros plus a minimum of a 500-1000 more in travel/lodging expenditures?

    Or would you rather pay to be in the stands to watch Ferrari, McLaren, Brawn et al, do battle for probably less money? The sliver lining is that Silverstone would most likely be on the FOTA calender next year. Have fun at Donnington, Max & Bernie.

  14. i consider myself a literate man, but what does febrile meen?

  15. MrExasperated says:

    I find it amazing that the FiA and Mosley are accusing the teams of being unable to reach a compromise, when Mosleys idea of a compromise is ‘My way or the highway’ and all the news I have read from various sources around the web is that the teams have been bending over backwards to try and reach a compromise. Im sorry but the uncompromising one is Mosley who seems like he’s just after vengeance at any cost.

    Also he says he doesnt want the teams dictating the rules, but all I see is the reverse, that he dictates rules on a whim without consultation. As far as I am concerned the FiA should begin and END at enforcing the rules and safety, with a separate and independent commission setup to draw up the rules with negotiations from all parties concerned.

  16. PaulL says:

    James, any thought of commentating for ITV next year when it broadcasts “Formula World” (the breakaway series)? :)

  17. Robin Capper says:

    Must admit I had to look up febrile, thanks for the brilliant reporting and expanding my vocabulary!

    I can’t see how FOTA could get the infrastructure to run a series (rules, venues, marketing, TV etc) sorted by next year. Look at how well A1 hasn’t done and it’s had several years.

  18. graham says:

    Where is your list of entrants Max? Even the “new teams” like N Tech, Prodrive and Lola are bailing. Let’s see the list…. what’s that… some legal mumbo jumbo about legal options…. Baaaa. Bluff. You have no real teams and we all know it.

  19. Jim says:

    I watch the racers not Mosley.
    Go Jensen Go

  20. James Allen says:

    feverish

  21. James Allen says:

    I think F1 was in better shape when all the talk was of the tension between Prost, Senna and Mansell rather than between Mosley, Montezemolo FIA and FOTA

  22. Andy says:

    There is always Dave as a channel for it

  23. The Kitchen Cynic says:

    Remind me which media empire was behind the [mod] Mosley revelations last year…?

  24. Ahmad Albashrawi says:

    If Ferrari and the RedBulls loose the case, they would probably place two outdated cars in the F1 grid next year with two test drivers at the same time they would properly race with proper cars and proper drivers in the new series. And by the time their contracts expire (2012), they will put an end to their participation on F1. It is sad but I think that Max has put them into a situation that they had no other option. Unless Max intentionally wanted the constructors to quit, he would have done the most stupid mistake of the this century!!

    First, it was his idea for the teams to put conditional entries, then he told them that he does not accept such entries and they have to upgrade them to unconditional. Then he says Ferrari are free to race elsewhere outside F1, then he try to force them to race. He said that the constructors can start their own series, and when they declare their intentions he sue them. Finally he refuses to postponed the 19th June deadline for the teams, just to do so indirectly!! ENOUGH FORMULA 1 SHOULD HAVE SOME FRESH BLOOD PUSHED INTO ITS MANAGEMENT. It is really hard for a sport meant to be for young people to be run by old individuals who can not balance what they say and what they do afterwards.

    Ferrari has already launched arbitration proceedings against the FIA. This action was launched last Monday.

    Formula 1 is not looking promising for next year. It is for a standard engine supplier, standard tire supplier and possibly even standard chassis technology supplier (Williams?) and less than ten teams running at budgets similar to DTM teams. Suddenly even Max realized that and hence he postponed publishing list of entrants tomorrow especially that majority of the teams in his waiting list have just withdrawn!! IMO that is the idea behind this legal action against FOTA’s intentions to start a new series even before they start it.

    I think the constructors have done the right thing, now I would like to see FIA participates in Max’s budget cap and allow everyone to look at their accounts from next year.

  25. graham says:

    Ferrari and Red Bull should just announce that they will field cars in the FIA series. Their new TITLE sponsor for all the teams will be FOTA GPWC and this will be plastered all over the cars. Their new drivers will be Alex Yoong and Koji Ide. The cars will all be pained yellow and have a budget cap of $1M which means no motorhomes and they will only run one lap in each practice session and the cars may have a hard time keeping within 7 seconds of the Cosworth powered spec racers.

    Simultaneously Massa, Vettel, Kimi, Webbo and the Sebastians will be racing real cars in the GPWC FOTA series with real sponsors.

  26. graham says:

    Hi Max. Don’t you have better things to do than posting on a blog with lowly “common folk”? Great opinion though.

  27. MartinWR says:

    I am most definitely not a fan of what Bernie has done to F1, turning it into a mega financial bubble, involving governments worldwide in building tracks, generally making F1 a major player on the world stage that whole countries want to be involved with. I don’t like or want any of that.

    But I have to say the guy has got style. Serious style. His reported comments on the BBC went something like, “where are we, I don’t know where we are”, “I’m not worried, I never worry about anything”, and other remarks along those lines, delivered perfectly matter-of-factly.

    Talk about the calm centre of the storm. This guy is seriously cool. At seventy-eight he could teach kids a quarter of his age a thing or two about cool. I’m getting to be a fan, and I want more!

    Well you’ve gotta find something to enjoy about the current situation, haven’t you?

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