FOTA teams offer three-year F1 deal but will Max Mosley accept it?

The FOTA teams have offered to compete in F1 until at least 2012

The FOTA teams have offered to compete in F1 until at least 2012

The news that the nine remaining FOTA-aligned teams (Williams excluded) have submitted applications to contest the 2010 F1 championship ahead of the May 29th deadline has been given a warm reception.

But this is not a white flag from FOTA. They are demanding that their teams can compete “on an identical regulatory basis” in 2010 (i.e. not under a ‘two-tier’ rules system), want a new Concorde (commercial) Agreement signed by June 12th and, most significantly, have not accepted the FIA’s demands on budget capping.

This appears to be an attempt to call Mosley’s bluff and dare him to exclude them from the championship. At the same time a small number of new entrants have publicly confirmed they will enter in 2010. So what will happen next?

Among the teams which have declared they will compete under the FIA rules in 2010 are USF1, Lola, Prodrive (later to become Aston Martin) and Campos. Plus, of course, FOTA renegades Williams.

Other racing outfits previously linked with future F1 entries under the new rules, which have not publicly confirmed their plans for next year, include Racing Engineering, Ray Mallock Limited, Formtech, iSport, Epsilon Euskadi, Litespeed and Nick Wirth’s team.

FOTA’s opposition to the FIA’s proposals and, as much as anything else, its method of governance, gets a lot of symnpathy from me. Here’s how Toyota’s John Howett explains it:

We’re all looking to working collaboratively and proactively with the FIA and to really stop all of this political positioning and focusing on improving the sport. That’s what FOTA is really proven to do this year, with more availability of drivers, trying to improve TV coverage, more telemetry data.

We just want to compete on an even playing field, we are all capable of managing our businesses constructively, we’re all open to discuss on how we can integrate new entrants in a professional and correct way. The one thing that’s always missed is that we need to grow the cake and we need to understand how much of the remainder of the revenue is re-invested in the sport.

There are a lot of rumours at the moment that manufacturer teams such as Toyota and Renault will be forced to give up their F1 teams by their boards as the pressures of the recession continue to mount. FOTA’s offer of a commitment from its teams to participate for the next three seasons (until 2012) appears to undermine those rumours.

Viewed at its most pessimistic, this is a situation where the fault lines between two warring factions have cracked further apart. The likelihood of a destructive split in F1 is arguably greater than ever.

But if Mosley thinks FOTA have gone far enough to meet his demands of a long-term commitment to the sport, an easing of F1′s political tensions is in sight.

Either way, now the ball is in Mosley’s court. What will he do?

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48 comments on FOTA teams offer three-year F1 deal but will Max Mosley accept it?

  1. Prisoner Monkeys said on 30th May 2009, 2:18

    I’m pretty sure something will be worked out in time. It’s just a matter of making everyone happy, that’s all. Reading between the lines a little bit in a sound-byte Dave Richards gave to Reuters, it seems the Mercedes Solution is looking good; Richards was quoted as saying the budget gap is significantly higher than when they first considered entering the sport. It could be that the increase from 30 to 40 million by the FIA is what he was talking about, but I’m interpreting it as the increase from 40 to 100 million as uggested by Mercedes.

  2. Well as much as I think a split would/could be a good thing it’s never gonna happen is it really, never trust the FIA I say, they may claim to want a budget cap but the claims could just as easily be the means to a different end, Bernie and Max playing good cop bad cop? Sounds about right. It’s all interesting in a sad kind of way I guess, at some point we’ll find out what all went down but we may have to wait until after 2012.

  3. Alex Bkk said on 30th May 2009, 3:23

    Yes…

  4. wasiF1 said on 30th May 2009, 5:25

    U know the FIA & FOTA became headlines more than the two Brawn Drivers

    • Sush Meerkat said on 30th May 2009, 7:48

      Yeah wasiF1, F1 was being talked about in news reel on music radio shows all week.

      if it was an effort to get the word out of F1 to the masses, Mission Accomplished.

  5. Bartholomew said on 30th May 2009, 7:53

    I think FOTA and FIA can work together OK. The problem is Bernie operating in the shadows.
    What FOTA cannot mention publicly is what is on everyone´s mind : how do we get rid of Bernie ?

    FOTA and FIA can work constructively together with no problem, in a championship run on historic tracks, mostly in Europe and North America, and also in selected tracks in other places.

    The problem behind everything is not Ferrari, Mosley, FOTA, budget cap, or anything like that. It is Bernie running his tacky show with races on empty generic tracks, and keeping the money.
    The sooner that everyone gets rid of Bernie and starts something else, the better. Audiences will follow the teams and drivers, wherever they go. No one wants to see new unknown teams racing in an empty track in some desert somewhere.

    The issue is that for long-term success of our racing, it has to be run on attractive venues. There is only so much interest that you can drum up for a race in the boondocks out there, with empty grandstands. This is a dead end.

    • Prisoner Monkeys said on 30th May 2009, 9:57

      Why is it that everyone assumes FOTA are thinking what they themselves are thinking? If you look over the photos and reports from the meeting on Briatore’s yacht, you’ll see Ecclestone was attending the FOTA summit, but Mosely was in Monaco that weeked as well. It’s pretty telling to their state of mind that they’d rather deal with him than with the President of the FIA.

      And a lot of the money from FOM gets re-circulated back into the teams’ coffers. It doesn’t go straight to a numbered Swiss bank account under the name B. Ecclestone.

    • Achilles said on 30th May 2009, 18:39

      How can you say that Bernie keeps the money when all the evidence shows that he is merely the mouthpiece for the company that actually owns F1, CVC. Maybe it is tacky to you, but it is a hell of an achievement to have built up F1 to be as big as it is now, and to keep it there it has to continue to grow, follow the money, wherever that may be, using the huge marketing forces that are carried along with it, to promote itself, and whatever country/track are able to afford it. Why are we so selfish about wanting to keep F1 in our own cosy little world when F1 is global, if it were left to Europe F1 would wither for lack of finance, Frank Williams said that if he were to rely on british, and european sponsorship, he would have gone bust years ago….

      • Gman said on 2nd June 2009, 20:31

        Yeah, but how many of those Asia/Middle East venues pack the stands with passionate fans the way that Montreal/Indy/Silverstone/Monza all have done in recent years. How may F1 drivers have come from those places. Yeah, sponsosrship helps from there, but all you need for sponsorship is money- no passion, no history.

        Good for F1 if the sport expands to Asia, but Europe and other places (North America, Brazil, Japan, Australia) built the sport to where it is today and still keep it going.

  6. persempre said on 30th May 2009, 10:01

    I think my position on this is pretty clear. The enormous costs incurred by the teams are predominately down to the FIA not through the teams own choice.
    The teams need to have more say in the running of their sport. That goes for both the regulatory & commercial rights side. So, in that sense, Bartholomew is right. However, Bernie has never been particularly bothered about bums on seats at races. If the stands are empty that`s the promoters` problem. Bernie gets his money, anyway. Bernie is interested in the ways available to sell the sport to new markets. So things like viewing figures (hence the onset of night races to work with the European hours) are what drives him.
    As to your question, Keith, about what Max will do next. Who knows? He`s capable of almost anything.

  7. Sav722 said on 30th May 2009, 10:24

    I have a feeling that Bernie has been in Max’s ear, persuading him to compromise. Well, FOTA’s plan does not seem like a total disaster. And Max cannot have everything his own way.

    F1 next year, with all the current entrants and some new teams will be excellent.

  8. And what about limit of 13 teams? As we can see now, 15 teams (including Litespeed) have submitted for 2010 season. What happens next?

    • John H said on 30th May 2009, 13:48

      Indeed.

      Does anyone know whay there is a limit? Can’t we go back to the pre-qualify days at all?

    • Prisoner Monkeys said on 30th May 2009, 14:47

      There are indeed fifteen teams – with more expected; F1-Live are reporting March Engineering have fielded their own entry (http://en.f1-live.com/f1/en/headlines/news/detail/090530093936.shtml) – but only thirteen positions available. New entrants will be assessed by the FIA, and he best three teams will be granted entry to the 2010 season. The assessment will cover their organisation, staff, facilities, ties to potential suppliers, how far their car is already planned, their ability to attract sponsors and raise capital of their own accord, and perhaps most importantly, their commitment to the sport and their potential to keep going beyond 2010.

      Teams that don’t make the grade will either have to wait until someone withdraws and purchase their assets, or hope that Ecclestone will open the grid up further. I think circuits like Shanghai and Bahrain could actually hold as many as thirty cars, but the likes of Monaco couldn’t. Pre-qualifying isn’t really an option, because back in the early 1990s, you could start a team for as little as US $500,000. These days it costs millions to break into the sport, and no sponsor is going to be willing to pay to have their name and image splashed across the sidepods of a car that has no guarantee of making the grid.

  9. Striay said on 30th May 2009, 12:25

    I have heard a team called ‘ MarchF1′ has added their name to the list of entries.
    Further to Micos question, i think the FIA now choose 13 teams, out of the one’s that have submitted entries, and these will be the one’s who can participate in the 2010 season. I suppose that the current F1 teams will have priority over the new teams who have submitted entries.

  10. Andrew White said on 30th May 2009, 13:34

    The interesting thing about March is that Mosley was one of the people who originally set up the team. Although it has changed hands a couple of times over the years, could he have a soft spot for it?

  11. Giuseppe said on 30th May 2009, 13:44

    No offence to the new teams but even the smallest teams of F1 (Force India and Torro Rosso) have a stronger corporate/brand image. If Mad Max calls FOTA’s demands bluff then that would be the end of F1 and the rise of F1GP3 featuring Williams.

  12. al_amana said on 30th May 2009, 14:13

    Once again, it’s been a while so I’m not fully aware of what has or hasn’t been discussed on this topic. Nevertheless I’d like to comment and perhaps be enlightened.
    Firstly, last season we were arguing over penalties being handed out for on track indiscretions and spygate etc. All this was fair enough as the FIA are responsible for this aspect of F1. What I’ve been struggling to understand in regards to “capgate” is why, how and when was the FIA responsible for, or rather able to tell teams how to run their businesses from a monetary point of view? So as I should I did a quick google “what is the job of the FIA”. Low and behold I find the following http://www.pitpass.com/fes_php/pitpass_news_item.php?fes_art_id=37912
    Unless I’m missing something and/or this has all been discussed previously, FIA are in no position to be bluffing anyone, let alone trying to control the business aspect of F1!?!?

  13. The real fly int this compromise ointment is that the teams demand a new Concorde agreement by June 12 when accepted applications are announced. That means a renegotiated compensation package to the teams. Does anyone think this can happen? Or will part of the compromise mean extended discussion on the money issues?

    I think FOTA played a brilliant hand. They all filed their apps, but with enough conditions to secure what they want through continuing talks with Max & Bernie. The BIG question is will Max’s ego allow him further discussion? I think he realizes there are not enough competent new teams to make up the losses if FOTA run off and do their own thing.

  14. Chaz said on 30th May 2009, 19:10

    We just want to compete on an even playing field, we are all capable of managing our businesses constructively, we’re all open to discuss on how we can integrate new entrants in a professional and correct way. The one thing that’s always missed is that we need to grow the cake and we need to understand how much of the remainder of the revenue is re-invested in the sport.

    Toyota’s bugbears are at the moment about governance and transparency with the FIA. That’s rich! What about the governance and transparency amongst the teams themselves? They did not even know that Ferrari had a technical veto?! Why don’t they all put their cards or contracts on the table and seek a fair, balanced and equally racing and contractual platform amongst each other, not to mention revenue distribution.

    I used to be and in some ways still am a big fan of Ferrari, but I’m struggling to retain any respect for them. In fact I’m appalled and disgusted at their attitude of late. All their success has seriously been put into question for me when you consider the uneven playing field between the teams.

    F1′s credibility is sadly draining away. I’m shocked that any officialdom would concede to giving too any one team a veto or extra money, as a condition to stay in the sport. Would this be construed as a bribe and would this be considered fair or legal in the real world? Hmmm…

    • persempre said on 30th May 2009, 19:41

      Bernie & Max have always played the teams off against one another, Chaz. The only reason you know about Ferrari`s veto is that they, Ferrari, made it known to the other teams & the press have leapt on it in their usual anti-red way.
      If you worry about the veto (which was from what the French court said, never used) then you should worry equally about what ‘agreements’ other teams may have with Max &/or Bernie because they exist but we haven`t heard what they are.
      Ferrari sells papers & gets hits online both from those that support them or those that like to sneer. Far fewer people would bother if the headline was, for example, Toro Rosso or Force India.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 30th May 2009, 20:02

      What about the governance and transparency amongst the teams themselves? They did not even know that Ferrari had a technical veto?!

      That in itself is not half as damning as the FIA giving Ferrari a technical veto in the first place.

    • Chaz said on 30th May 2009, 20:45

      I agree absolutely with your remark Keith.

      And yes persempre, thats exactly what I’m saying, they should all put their contracts on the table. I hope my honest heart-felt constructive opinion is not misinterpreted as anti-red. As I said, I am a Ferrai fan (just), and used too bounce around in glee for days when Michael Schumacher used to crush the field. Yes I may now begin to question the legitimacy of these wins, but thats life…

    • persempre said on 30th May 2009, 21:00

      It wasn`t miffed with you, Chaz.
      If we hear something often enough we can all find ourselves believing it whether it`s true or not.
      As for the legitimacy of the Ferrari wins, remember what Ross Brawn said on the BBC? He should know & he had no reason to lie.
      Keith covered it here.

    • persempre said on 30th May 2009, 21:01

      Sorry ITV not BBC.

    • Chaz said on 30th May 2009, 21:47

      There may not be direct FIA help given to Ferrari as Ross has indicated, but I feel the public perceive that help to be perhaps ‘indirect’ especially in terms of the extra money and veto Ferrai get. For me its a fairness and level playing field equality issue. It seems far more complicated than it should be with seemingly different and perhaps conflicting contracts between the teams, Max and Bernie…

  15. Bigbadderboom said on 30th May 2009, 19:32

    Sounds like they are gitting down to the basics of the contention. I think Bernies is the big looser here, he stands to loose the most, insisiting the Concorde agreement is sorted by June 12th gives the teams an upper hand when playing hardball for a larger percentage of the rights. They have been trying to out manouvre Bernie on this for a while now, and this looks like they may gain some ground.
    FOTA have played a blinder in my opinion, Bernie will have been trying to play peacemaker with the FIA to conceede some ground, now the FIA will be putting pressure on Bernie to fall back and give more cash over!! As long as FOTA can stick together they seem to be proving a worthy adversary fo Bernie, Max and all the old codgers at FIA……..Go FOTA

    • persempre said on 30th May 2009, 19:43

      That`s what I`m hoping, too, Bigbadderboom. It`s about time the people who love racing got more say in the when, where, how & how much.

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