F1 to split in two as FOTA teams announce their own world championship

2009 F1 season

Australia 2009: The beginning of the end for F1?

Australia 2009: The beginning of the end for F1?

F1 has moved a step closer to splitting in two as the eight FOTA teams have announced they are to form their own racing series.

Autosport reports that Ferrari, McLaren, Renault, BMW, Toyota, Brawn GP, Red Bull and Toro Rosso are to create their own series independent of Formula 1.

Update: FOTA press release added

This leaves next year’s Formula 1 championship with only five confirmed teams: Williams, Force India, Manor, USF1 and Campos. However the FIA is understood to have several other teams ‘in reserve’ to fill up the grid. These may include the likes of Prodrive and Epsilon Euskadi, but not Lola who withdrew their 2010 application earlier this week.

According to Autosport the teams announced:

The teams cannot continue to compromise on the fundamental values of the sport and have declined to alter their original conditional entries to the 2010 World Championship.

These teams therefore have no alternative other than to commence the preparation for a new Championship which reflects the values of its participants and partners. This series will have transparent governance, one set of regulations, encourage more entrants and listen to the wishes of the fans, including offering lower prices for spectators worldwide, partners and other important stakeholders.

Formula 1 splitting into two is the worst possible outcome of the FIA-FOTA negotiations which have dragged on for months. If this split comes to pass it will likely deal a devastating blow not just to F1, but the wider motor racing world.

We now face the prospect of a divided world championship in 2010, with neither of the two resulting series enjoying the strength that Formula 1 has accumulated in its 60-year history. At a time of such economic turmoil, it is a desperate course of action to take.

Update: Press release from FOTA:

Since the formation of FOTA last September the teams have worked together and sought to engage the FIA and commercial rights holder, to develop and improve the sport.

Unprecedented worldwide financial turmoil has inevitably placed great challenges before the F1 community. FOTA is proud that it has achieved the most substantial measures to reduce costs in the history of our sport. In particular the manufacturer teams have provided assistance to the independent teams, a number of which would probably not be in the sport today without the FOTA initiatives.

The FOTA teams have further agreed upon a substantial voluntary cost reduction that provides a sustainable model for the future. Following these efforts all the teams have confirmed to the FIA and the commercial rights holder that they are willing to commit until the end of 2012.

The FIA and the commercial rights holder have campaigned to divide FOTA. The wishes of the majority of the teams are ignored. Furthermore, tens of millions of dollars have been withheld from many teams by the commercial rights holder, going back as far as 2006. Despite this and the uncompromising environment, FOTA has genuinely sought compromise.

It has become clear however, that the teams cannot continue to compromise on the fundamental values of the sport and have declined to alter their original conditional entries to the 2010 World Championship. These teams therefore have no alternative other than to commence the preparation for a new Championship which reflects the values of its participants and partners.

This series will have transparent governance, one set of regulations, encourage more entrants and listen to the wishes of the fans, including offering lower prices for spectators worldwide, partners and other important stakeholders. The major drivers, stars, brands, sponsors, promoters and companies historically associated with the highest level of motorsport will all feature in this new series.

Note to Eds: Statement issued by FOTA on behalf of BMW-Sauber, BrawnGP, Scuderia Ferrari, McLaren- Mercedes, Red Bull Racing, Renault, Scuderia Toro Rosso, Toyota.

Read more: Max Mosley is wrong. The only split F1 needs is a break away from him

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607 comments on F1 to split in two as FOTA teams announce their own world championship

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  1. Miguel said on 19th June 2009, 0:19

    What a shame

    • scunnyman said on 19th June 2009, 4:15

      I agree a shame , but nothing we didn’t see coming.

    • mp4-19b said on 19th June 2009, 4:36

      “And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.”

      This bible quote pretty much sums it all up. max mosley is the satan. He’s the anti-christ that the bible refers to. all good things have to come to an end. F1 too had an end. This is the end of an era. F1 R.I.P.

      & to max & bernie——— U’ll rot in hell.

      • Gman said on 19th June 2009, 5:50

        Never did I think I would see a Bible reference on a site like this, but you pretty much said it all there…

      • Tigger said on 19th June 2009, 18:25

        ‘Rot in hell’ might be going a bit too far, but let’s just say I won’t be sending Max ‘spankalot’ Mosley any Christmas cards this year. I’m 100% behind FOTA- and I don’t even like Ferrari!

        • i know, i can’t stand ferrari, but i would never watch F1 without them, nor any of the other major teams. It just wouldn’t be the same.
          I think everyone saw it coming and Max should be seriously ashamed of himself. I don’t see how you can introduce radical new rules and then put a budget cap on top of that. I hope at least that 1. FOTA races at donnington park and 2. Nico Rosberg moves to a FOTA team

  2. Babur said on 19th June 2009, 0:20

    Good! No more Max and Bernie!! wooohoooo!!!

    • scunnyman said on 19th June 2009, 4:16

      Maybe not…..I’m sure if they can they will find a way to get involved and mess it up somehow.

      • mp4-19b said on 19th June 2009, 4:41

        i always knew max mosley was a nutcase, but today he’s gone one step ahead and completely proved me correct. I stand vindicated. he’s completely lost in a reality forgotten land. this is the height of lunacy. no responsible head of a international organization would utter such nonsense. what does he mean by saying F1 can do without the nine teams. this is just unbelivable. he has no respect for the chair he holds. the guy must understand that the teams were the ones who put him onto the coveted chair. This is a perfect example of misuse of power & authority. This guy is hell bent upon inflicting incurable wounds on the sport. the way things are moving we might lose the sport forever. isn’t there a voluntary retirement scheme in the FIA? please this man should be kept as far away as possible from f1. first he lost his image, then he lost his son, now he is hell bent on losing the sport. it was very clear from the outset that these decisions were only of max. how can one lunatic be allowed to hold the entire sport at randsom? i’ve long ago realized that online petitions are of no use. we the average f1 fan must do something about this man. i would suggest boycotting the races, be it on the circuits,TV,internet, print media everywhere. why i say this is, the only man who i think is capable of installing some sense into max mosley is bernie. now bernie handles the commercial aspects of f1. so without “us” the average f1 fan, bernie=0, so in such a scenario, max will have to give into bernie’s demands. we all know how greedy & commercial bernie is. so there is no way bernie will put max ahead of his commercial interests. so the only way to save this sport is to completely BOYCOTT it until max gives into bernie’s demand. There is an old chinese proverb:


        so i’ve taken my first step. i’ll not be watching the british gp on tv. so definitely the TRP rating will go down, cuz many of my friends will be joining my boycott, we are about 600 ppl. hope ppl do the same thing. this is to bring the trp rating down. bernie always keeps blabbing tv viewers. he’s gone as far as saying that TV audiences are more important than circuit fans. so this boycott must pinch bernie in his butt. only then he’ll blink.
        please save this wonderful sport or else we’ll lose it forever.

        • breezer said on 19th June 2009, 13:31

          the sport will rise like the pheonix from the flames of old! and bout time to the sport has slowly but surly been going the wrong road since 05 and we havnt seen real battles since 06. my point being there is a new hope on the table i think that the great 8 will go back a few years keep the v8’s but go back to the great rule’s three tire wings, sticky tyre’s that suit the car and driver the best, 1 engine per race w.end flat out racing as the great mika would put it (im a ferrari fan but even i knew he was magic!!) all the thing’s that matter then us the fan’s can get back to the good ol days of disliking each other because thats 1 of the thing that sport is… any sport!its about or own we sunday war of word between friends and fow on who is the best team the best driver. these are the things that f1 has been mising i never turned races of in 20 years till last year when the car in front stayed there unless there was a problem! now i only watch the first 10 r 15 mins then the last half hour now i only look 4ward to moto gp! for hard fast exciting racing i have a great filling of butter flys in the tummy as we are about to move into a new and bright age thank god for the chaos theary it give hope to the masses and dispair to the greedy!! sorry for any spellin mistakes pep’s

    • Patrick said on 19th June 2009, 6:25

      beware: the unknown evil is sometimes worse than the known evil.

      this didn’t work with cart/irl and it won’t work here, if it actually happens. i’m not 100% convinced it will.

      either way, this won’t be good.

  3. Damian said on 19th June 2009, 0:21

    Really? REALLY really? I’ll believe it when I see it. Shame on the journos (like the one on 5live) who are taking this without a pinch of salt.

  4. Gman said on 19th June 2009, 0:21

    Shocking- I hope it will not come to pass.

    If it dose happen, I hope USF1 jumps with the FOTA bunch.

    • scunnyman said on 19th June 2009, 4:18

      I hope that USF1 has a get out clause with FIA so they can join fota if they wish.

      • Gman said on 19th June 2009, 5:52

        Exactly- hopefully they aren’t signed up to any kind of contract with the FIA. Same for Cmpos and Manor, for that matter.

        • Well, I think Williams & Force India will also jump ship to FOTA. That is, if they are smart. ‘Cos I know whose series I’ll be watching next year, and it won’t be S&Max’s one.

          • Wesley said on 19th June 2009, 22:18

            I’ll second that Mrs.Pink….and I hope USF1 does the same,I finally get a home team to root for and the bottom fell out of F1!

            Maybe they can call the new series “F” Max…as in “F” off….sorry,I have been saving that one.

          • scunnyman said on 19th June 2009, 23:31

            Well it would seem that Williams have put all their cards in the FIA F1 camp and don’t want anything to do with FOTA’s series.

        • Travis R said on 19th June 2009, 13:12

          I am not a lawyer, but I imagine that by submitting their application to the FIA (along with the money), they’re already bound to some form of a contract. Whether or not that contract has escape clauses and loopholes is another issue. I think the entry forms can be found online, but I do not have time to read through them right now…

          • al_amana said on 20th June 2009, 9:10

            Ahh yes but the smart lawyer would ensure that if the FIA are unable to provide a decent field that no doubt FI, Williams and co. have signed up to compete again, he would/should a clause to the effect of “If the Federation and governing bodies are unable to provide all the conditions to which the undersigned have committed to, then it is at the discrection of the undersigned as to if they are going to compete in the competition for the duration signed”. Or there abouts! Let’s not forget that Max’s list for who is signed for 2010 included FOTA members. If they’re not going to compete then I would suggest that have breached contract if not some other law.
            I think all that makes sense?!?!

          • al_amana said on 20th June 2009, 9:16

            When I say that they’ve breached contract I am refering to the FIA, for providing a list of competitors that they couldn’t be sure were going to be there in 2010. So those that have pledged allegiance to the FIA are well within their rights to believe that the FIA have mislead them in providing a list they couldn’t be sure was correct.

            Don’t worry I have confused myself also!!!

  5. TommyB said on 19th June 2009, 0:22

    Wow FIA really are stupid. I can’t believe this has actually happened :(

    • VXR said on 19th June 2009, 1:29

      Wow FIA really are stupid.

      You think that it’s the FIA that are stupid?

    • Travis R said on 19th June 2009, 13:30

      I don’t think anybody involved is stupid – stubborn, maybe, but not stupid. This may just be the highest-stake gamble ever.

      This is just my ignorant opinion, but I think the FIA’s intent was actually good – they simply wanted sustainability. I am still looking forward to F1 racing next year. Obviously, the teams had their own way of doing it. I think the FIA had to stand their ground in order to provide stability for next year’s rules. If they kept pushing back deadlines, nobody could start developing their cars for next year (and teams are already starting), let alone all the sponsorship implications that result from uncertainty. The FIA is the rule maker and they had to draw a line in the sand. I actually think Max was being fairly accommodating. I think the FIA is right in saying that there were some teams that were intent on splitting from F1 one way or another.

      While the FOTA press release makes their new series sound like it will be a dream come true, it’s still too early to declare it International Rainbows and Bunnies Day. I am a bit skeptical that the FOTA can pull off a new series in 2010 with this kind of time frame. They now face a whole new set of challenges. In any kind of organization, you’ll have competing factions – we just witnessed what happens when factions involved in F1 can’t get along. Well, now that one of those factions has their own thing started, it will only be a matter of time before egos and personal agendas (not that those things would ever exist in big money international motorsport! lol) will form new factions there. The FOTA’s road is about to get even more difficult. I also imagine there will still be attempts to prevent this split, so it’s far from over. Time will tell.

      Like I said, this is just my ignorant opinion, so I’m probably the one who’s going to be called stupid here.

      • mikey said on 19th June 2009, 22:37

        Not ignorant at all.

        On the outside chance a breakaway series can even be logistically & financially created in such a short period of time, it will only be a matter of a 2, maybe three years at the most before the obvious conflicts of interest (with the teams being both competitors & legislators) tear the new series apart.

        Why would someone spend 300-400 million a year to be a back marker (with no hope of advancing due to the rival governing factions) when 1/4 the amount could be spent to be competitive? That’s a tough sell to the board of directors at Toyota, Renault or even BMW.

        Sure, Max & Bernie suck. Rip-off artists, scammers, opportunists the case can be made for all these titles. In this case however, FOTA may not be any better & in the long run, I fear they will likely be worse.

  6. John H said on 19th June 2009, 0:26

    I’m pretty nervous about this news – not quite sure how to feel about it… it will certainly be interesting at Silverstone this weekend that’s for sure.

    I have to say that in my opinion, the FIA have brought this upon themselves and although I agree this result is not ideal, it is the only way Max and Bernie are to be dispensed with.

    • scunnyman said on 19th June 2009, 4:24

      We all should be nervous about this situation.

      Maybe the Phoenix will rise up out the FIA ashes and a new sport will be born that will be see n to run effectively for longer than 60 yrs.

  7. Lenny said on 19th June 2009, 0:26

    I can see max on his knees begging for the ‘FOTA 8′ to come back when he realises there’s only gonna be three teams capable of fielding cars. The sheet has officially hit the fan!

    • scunnyman said on 19th June 2009, 4:29

      Max will only realise he has done wrong in the years ahead. In the meantime he will just add the other lesser teams to the F1 grid for next year. He will obviously think that it will be a match for any FOTA series.

    • Katy said on 19th June 2009, 8:38

      I thought the FIA would back down, but I don’t think they’re the begging type :-P also, it’ll just be too little too late.

      I’ve had a think now about this and can’t wait for the new series, was worried at first. But the history is with the teams and the people, we wont forget F1, the new series will be way better, going back to circuits they used to race, cheaper tickets, better regulations :) it’ll be great!

  8. Damian said on 19th June 2009, 0:28

    Yeah, Lenny, I can see Max on his knees too… Being whipped by some escorts dressed as prison guardians.

    • Matt said on 19th June 2009, 1:17


      • scunnyman said on 19th June 2009, 2:48

        I’m afraid this is not a laughing matter.
        I know it’s only sport, but peoples lives and jobs are at stake here. This is a very serious situation.

        I for one hope that the powers that be in the FIA and WMSC don’t see this as just a threat and take it seriously and do something about it.

        I would rather have F1 fixed than dismantled.

        • Dougie said on 19th June 2009, 8:22

          but peoples lives and jobs are at stake here

          I get sick of reading this, sorry scunnyman but peoples lives and jobs are at stake every day of the week and I don’t here anyone campaigning for that.

          • Luigismen said on 19th June 2009, 13:40

            well said Dougie, I’m tired of hearing this too

          • scunnyman said on 19th June 2009, 21:16

            Well how many times do you get high thousands of people losing their jobs all in one go, and from the same highly skilled industry.
            it’s not like there is a big market out there for all these jobs.

            Maybe the new crappier F1???

          • Dougie said on 19th June 2009, 22:50

            Well how many times do you get high thousands of people losing their jobs all in one go

            Well not from F1 that’s for sure… at the most it’ll be a couple of thousand… and that’s me being generous, I doubt it’ll make 4 figures at all.

            However, if the media is any indication, then most months of the year there are thousands of jobs lost in a single event.

        • I don’t think any jobs are at stake, i think jobs are actually going to be made, because obviously, the teams just cant keep track of themselves, there needs to be a body whcih will deal with the paperwork as so to speak.
          I agree that F1 should be fixed and all the teams should be back together again, but i don’t think that is going to happen. Mosley has left it too late.
          Hopefully though, if they do split, they can show up Mosley big time. When he sees all the big teams really successful and really popular, he really will be begging on his knees for mercy and forgiveness.

  9. Tim Leaf said on 19th June 2009, 0:28

    This is probably what we all wished would happen, but really thought it never would. Yes, no more Max. Maybe no more Bernie? In fact, FOTA may be just playing their last BIG card hoping FIA folds at the last minute. FIA aquieses or FOTA really does get a new series going next year. I’ll tell you guys, I have lived through the CART/Indycar stuff and it really hurts the entire series regardless of whose side you’re on.
    Having said that, FOTA has Ferrari, BMW, Mercedes/McLaren, Renault and the rest. Could be different. It really does have the potential to be great! Especially based on the FOTA announcement posted on Autosport. WOW! Freakin’ incredible! F1 never ceases to amaze me for drama.

    • Adam said on 19th June 2009, 2:57

      You are correct in that this isn’t exactly like the IRL/CART split. With IRL/CART you had a division of the big name teams/drivers/etc between the two factions. Arguably you had more big names going to CART and more of the big venues sticking with IRL. In this case you’ll have virtually all of the big names going with the FOTA option. FOTA also has the chance to pick up on some big name venues as well. This may be the last F1 race at Silverstone, but FOTA could be back next year. This would be a big blow to FIA as there is no guarantee they will have a place to hold an F1 British Grand Prix next year. Also some F1 events now trade off between venues in alternate years. If the FOTA were to be able to secure contracts with some of those venues on their off years, it would be another big boost to the FOTA product.

      The FIA division will also have some difficulty from the economy. The sponsors were already planning on cutting back even before the split. Now sponsors have to decide which of the two series to back. This will likely lead a lot more of them to sit out a year and see who attracts more fans. The big name teams will be more apt to have sponsors who will not risk losing their relationships. If you think about it from the sponsors’ perspective, are you more likely to risk losing your chance to be associated with Campos or Ferrari? No offense to any Williams or Force India fan out there, but they aren’t the current F1 teams that have sponsors calling them to get on board. There is a real possibility of seeing most of the F1 field open the season with a nearly sponsorless chassis, like Brawn had at the start of this year. And face it, if Brawn hadn’t started this year on fire and wasn’t the big front runner this year, they would have probably finished the year with a plain white car.

      Overall this is definitely not a desirable outcome, but still it probably won’t turn out as disastrous as the IRL/CART split. I just don’t see this one as quite as even a split. The economics of the matter put some pressure on Max and Bernie to compromise, as the alternative for them is to personally subsidize the F1 series for at least next year and almost certainly several more. Even if F1 proves to be the series that makes it, they will have a terrible time getting sponsors next year. If FOTA has bigger names and lower ticket prices, that puts incredible pressure on F1 to match or undercut the FOTA ticket prices. Put all this together and it appears F1 will be bleeding money next year.

      • Adam said on 19th June 2009, 2:59

        The big question, however, is how will the FOTA series do financially, and if they have major losses who will absorb them and how long can they keep it up?

        • todd said on 19th June 2009, 3:14

          forget that – that’s in the future… the big question is how are they going to put in a set or rules, governance, car spec and design rules, secure tracks, branding, advertising and everything else associated with running a race series in just a half dozen months?

          this stinks of calling the fia’s bluff and failure.

          • Wyzzard said on 19th June 2009, 7:40

            Getting the details lined out is actually the easy part:
            -Car spec: use the cars from 2009, or 2008 specs

            -Governance & Rules: FOTA knows what rules work and which don’t, lots of experience on those teams, and for a sanctioning body, the fellow over at MotoGP could help out there, or they could appoint their own governing body

            -Tracks: plenty of tracks will jump at the chance for a FOTA race. no problem there, and working out financial arrangements with tracks should be pretty standard in the industry(and I’d think many tracks would be happier to work with FOTA than Bernie, as they’d not take such a financial beating

            All the FOTA teams have their own batteries of lawyers and “go to” guys, the ones who get things done–they could put the whole package together quickly, I’d think–I’d wager they have been working on many parts of it for several weeks now

            Media coverage will be the thing, of course….wonder what TV coverage would like to have the series Ferrari, McLaren and the LAST F1 Champion are racing in/…probably all of them, and bet the calls are going on behind the scenes already

            Make no mistake, if FOTA is serious, and I think they are, half the world will jump to them with offers of help in putting the new series on, and I believe that goes for sponsors too.

        • todd said on 19th June 2009, 3:17

          oh an tv rights, line up international broadcasters and times slots that would no doubt conflict with f1 and all the other racing series out there…

          • Adam said on 20th June 2009, 4:52

            Frankly TV is probably one of the easier things to do in a hurry. They can get on television in most of the developed world with one call to Rupert Murdoch. News Corp has the geographic reach to put them on the air nearly everywhere. Granted there are better media outlets than the News Corp option in some markets, but still if they felt pressure to get something done FAST, it could be done. Then before the 2011 series they could have something better lined up. This wouldn’t perfect from the start, but at least its something to build from.

  10. John H said on 19th June 2009, 0:28

    “go form your own series” said the Dictator…

    Seems like FOTA duly listened.

  11. Kovy said on 19th June 2009, 0:28

    Good on them. If a deal had been reached, Max and Bernie would still be in charge, so that would be like treating the symptoms of a disease, not the cause.

    • scunnyman said on 19th June 2009, 4:33

      I think the only deal Fota would really accept would involve the resignation of Mosley. And that my friends ain’t gonna happen.

  12. tom said on 19th June 2009, 0:30

    bargaining chip imo

  13. Leaf said on 19th June 2009, 0:32

    Oh yeah, if this really does come to pass I can only hope Williams goes with FOTA. USF too! (Although both have already signed up with FIA. Probably too late.) Pretty sure Williams can win that division of entrants though. Maybe even Force India! :-)

    • scunnyman said on 19th June 2009, 4:36

      If the split really does happen and we get a watered down F1 then it will be the same as champ car. At least then Rosberg will become 4 times f1 champ just as Bourdais did in Indycar.

      • gabal said on 19th June 2009, 6:46

        Williams took the money and was forced to enter unconditionally. And Rosbergs contract is up for renewal this year so who knows where he will go…

  14. Tim said on 19th June 2009, 0:33

    Hopefully if they do come to terms they should agree to get rid off Bernie and Max.

    • Fernando said on 19th June 2009, 0:37

      I’m sorry to say but it ain’t gonna happen. Too much bureaucracy going on in that party.

      • Dougie said on 19th June 2009, 8:24

        I’m sorry to say but it ain’t gonna happen. Too much bureaucracy going on in that party.

        Gotta agree with this one.

  15. TommyB said on 19th June 2009, 0:33

    Now Max can make F1 Formula Cosworth and we can watch FOTA become F1.

    • VXR said on 19th June 2009, 1:31

      Now Max can make F1 Formula Cosworth and we can watch FOTA become F1.

      As I said before,It can never be ‘Formula One’.

      • Martin said on 19th June 2009, 3:07

        Just because Bernie owns the rights to certain names and the FIA owns F1, doesnt mean it wont be F1. Everyone in the world was calling something a grand prix when it wasnt even a race and still people know that GP means F1 and the real fans will follow the real racing not the made show.

      • Pierre said on 20th June 2009, 8:32

        It could be possible for the european motor manufacturers to buy the F1 commercial rights from CVC. Bernie was retained as the CEO of CVC but an offer to purchase could just relieve Bernie form his contractual obligations to TV broadcasters, race promoters etc. One thing is sure Bernie will find himself in breach of contract if the FOTA teams are not featured in 2010 and beyond as an alternative F1 is not what these guys have signed contracts for.

    • scunnyman said on 19th June 2009, 4:40

      There is no way FOTA can call themselves F1 in any form whatsoever, so long as Bernie owns the rights.

      Maybe the should call it EFFWON LOL?

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