Posted on February 28, 2014


The F1 teams’ Association, or FOTA as it was known, has been disbanded. The seven remaining members of the union decided not to continue after meetings in the last week. A spokesman told the BBC, “I can confirm that FOTA has been disbanded, as a result of insufficient funds to continue, and lack of consensus amongst all the Teams on a revised non-contentious mandate”. FOTA was formed in 2007, with Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo the driving force, along with McLaren’s Ron Dennis and Flavio Briatore, then head of Renault. The idea was to stick together in crucial negotiations with More…

Posted on February 27, 2013


Formula 1 fans have a chance to put the questions to leading figures from the sport at the latest FOTA Fans’ Forum in Barcelona. It’s the first of a number of events in 2013 around the world. And we’re delighted to say that you will be able to watch the debate live on JA on F1 with a direct feed, which is due to start at 5.30pm UK time (18-30om CET) tonight Wednesday, in the video console below. The previous forums in the UK, Montreal and Milan have attracted a high-profile F1 panel and this year is no different. It’s More…

Posted on December 5, 2011


This morning I took part in a teleconference with two of the principals of the Mercedes F1 team, Nick Fry and Norbert Haug. The conference was called to discuss the name change for the F1 team, which will incorporate Mercedes’ high performance brand AMG and leverage the name through increased exposure on F1′s world wide media platform. It will be called Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team. This is entirely logical and will help the company to increase the value it gets from involvement in the sport. But there was also a chance to get the company’s reaction to the More…

Posted on September 9, 2011


It is three years since the F1 teams got together to form FOTA, here at the Italian Grand Prix weekend and this weekend also marks the end of the tenure as Secretary General of Simone Perillo. His role as secretary general is being taken up by an British lawyer, Oliver Weingarten, who has extensive experience as in house counsel at the English Premier League, dealing with clubs and with a wide range of issues such as illegal video streaming. He will be charged with steering FOTA through the next delicate phase of negotiations with the FIA and FOM over the More…

Posted on July 29, 2011


FOTA chairman Martin Whitmarsh has given a cautious welcome to the news that F1 in the UK will be partly on Pay TV and partly on terrestrial as SKY will share the coverage with BBC. Whitmarsh has long maintained his position that Free to Air is the model the teams wan and he seems to be trying to force Ecclestone into a position where the BBC will show entire race deferred on Free to Air TV, a few hours later. The financial package is also clearly attractive enough to teams, who share 50% of all the sport’s commercial revenues. I’ve More…

Posted on June 11, 2011


On Thursday night the FOTA Fans Forum took place in Montreal, offering fans from Canada and the USA a chance to meet face to face with the competitors in the sport they love and to ask questions and put their points of view across. Here is the full audio soundtrack of Part Two of the evening, which features Team Lotus chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne, and driver Heikki Kovalainen as well as Force India driver Nico Hulkenberg addressing questions and points for view from fans including overtaking, DRS wings, Pirelli tyres, banning technology mid-season, tyre saving in qualifying and the More…

Posted on June 7, 2011


The F1 teams have written to the FIA, FOM and the Bahrain Grand Prix organisers, stating their collective position regarding Friday’s FIA World Council decision regarding Bahrain. Having deliberated on it yesterday, the teams collectively, via the channel of the F1 Teams Association (FOTA – which does not include HRT), is understood to have said that they are unwilling to race in Bahrain on October 30th, as was decided by the WMSC and feel that the Indian Grand Prix should be restored to that date, as originally scheduled in the 2011 calendar. It was reported earlier today that the teams More…

Posted on May 6, 2011


FOTA held a press briefing this afternoon in the top floor of the McLaren motorhome to look back on what has been achieved so far and to look forward to what lies ahead. It was an interesting hour, with recently re-elected chairman Martin Whitmarsh doing most of the talking, backed up by his newly elected vice chairman Eric Boullier of Renault. Inevitably seventy five percent of the content was about the News Corp/Exor takeover story. In their press release this week the two companies said that “Over the coming weeks and months, EXOR and News Corporation will approach potential minority More…

Posted on March 17, 2011


Following on from the FIA take on the Drag Reduction System, ahead of its racing introduction next week and the point of view of the fans, FOTA have been looking with interest at the debate here on the site over the last 24 hours. One source within FOTA made the following point to me this morning, which I wanted to post as part of the ongoing discussion, “The introduction of the moveable rear wing (Drag Reduction System – DRS) should be at least given a chance. Using an extreme logic, everything on a car could be considered to be “artificial”. More…

Posted on December 21, 2010


I was recently sent a copy of a magazine run by an old friend and former commentator Pierre Van Vliet called F1i. Pierre used to be my opposite number on France’s TF1 coverage and in the magazine there was a feature interview with McLaren’s Ron Dennis which caught my eye. Asked about the relationship between the two world champions, Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button he said, “Managing the co-habitation of two world champions is often a challenge. I have tried it a few times. Martin is perhaps showing himself to be better than me at that role.” He certainly is. More…

Posted on July 4, 2010


There are three new teams on the grid this season and next year there is set to be another. USF1 failed to make it along the way. So what is it like being a new team and what do established teams like McLaren think about how they are performing? This was one of the subjects being discussed at the Fans Forum in London this week, where 150 fans came face to face with key team members and set the agenda for the discussion. The panel for the Forum was led by Martin Whitmarsh, FOTA chairman and team principal of Vodafone More…

Posted on September 9, 2009


Williams and Force India have been welcomed back into the Formula One Teams Association, having been asked to leave over the summer when they broke ranks and signed up to the F1 championship, rather than follow the breakaway movement. With the resolution of that conflict in late July, it was always expected that the two would be readmitted at some point, but at a FOTA meeting in Monza today they came in from the cold. This weekend marks the first anniversary of the key moment when FOTA was formed and I remember the atmosphere in the paddock as the team More…

Posted on March 25, 2009


I’m surprised more hasn’t been made of the stories in the last day or so about the meeting between Flavio Briatore, Ron Dennis and Bernie Ecclestone, where Flavio is supposed to have threatened a FOTA boycott of Melbourne if the teams were not paid some money they claim BE owes them under the terms of the extended Concorde Agreement. According to Ecclestone in the Times, “Flavio said, ‘We’re not going to put our cars on the plane, we’re not going to Melbourne.’ He started it aided and abetted by Ron Dennis.” The pair are reported to have backed down after More…

Posted on March 21, 2009


It was all looking so good, Ross Brawn saves the Honda team, the car turns out to be a rocket ship, David threatens Goliath, a shake up of the old order was in prospect. The racing was shaping up to be really close, with many teams on roughly the same pace. In other words a great season was in prospect, as many of you have said in your comments on this blog. And now with a week to go until the first race, we have the FIA backtracking on the winner takes all points rule, because the FOTA teams did More…

Posted on March 6, 2009


From a fans’ point of view the big story from yesterday’s FOTA press conference was the changes they’d like to make to shorten the races, change the points and boost the TV coverage. Martin Whitmarsh spoke about the desire to change the points system to reward the winner and podium finishers and to shorten the races by fifty miles, which for the average race will take about 20 minutes off the race time. The points thing will exaggerate the difference between the top teams and the rest and is possibly a payback for the big guys agreeing so many cost More…

Posted on March 6, 2009


Yesterday was frantic. I got up at 4-30am in London and got the 6-50am BA flight to Geneva with a load of excited people who were going skiiing. Geneva was cold and wet, the motor show is on, but there isn’t much enthusiasm from (or for) the car industry at the moment. The FOTA press conference was held in a kind of transport museum, not far from the airport. There weren’t as many media there as I’d expected. The usual faces from Italy, Germany, UK, but not the hundreds I thought might come. It’s a sign that the credit crunch More…

Posted on March 5, 2009


The Formula One Teams Association held its first press conference today here in Geneva and the show of strength from the teams underlined how united they are. The headlines are that they have agreed to measures for 2010 which will cut budgets by 50% compared to the 2008 season. This will mean teams like Force India needing a budget of around £50 million and a top team like Ferrari and McLaren operating on £150 million. It’s impressive progress, but still some way short of what FIA president Max Mosley is looking for. I think the FIA will probably accept these More…

Posted on February 18, 2009


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 More…



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