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

  1. Hakka said on 19th June 2009, 19:02

    Until legal proceedings are initiated in a court of law, we don’t know that this isn’t just another delaying tactic for the FIA to save face regarding the due date and loss of some new teams and still have FOTA on the back foot somewhat with the threat of legal action hanging over them.

    This legal threat would also give second thoughts to sponsors, tracks, and other participants considering the theoretical new series.

    Threat of legal action is par for the course in disputes like this. We’ll see how things unfold.

  2. williamgeorgefraser said on 19th June 2009, 19:10

    Sorry to say this but this has been on the cards for years and no-one has had the guts to stand against Moseley when it came to elections. Will someone finally stand against him at the next election or do those who organise motor sports really want to see it turn to chaos. GET THIS CNUT(let’s see him turn back the tide) OUT AND THE DWARF ECCLESTONE. And why not sue them to get back the millions they have taken from Formula 1.

  3. pSynrg said on 19th June 2009, 19:48

    On this eventful day in the story of F1 I have been unfortunately too busy working to keep up with developments.

    All I wish to say at this point is good luck FOTA and be damned with the FIA forever…

  4. Pedro Andrade said on 19th June 2009, 20:01

    Mosley unlikely to step down amid crisis

    “I don’t want to go on too long, but the difficulty they are putting me in is that even if I wanted to stop this October, they are making it very difficult for me to do so”

    Power-hungry as ever, everything is an excuse to stay…

    “I am the figurehead because I happen to be the president, but I cannot move without the authority of all these different countries. We have 120 different countries and each is represented by the head of motorsport in that country. It is a huge organisation, so the idea that it is somehow me, that is really not the issue.

    Then how is it that it was him who chose who the new 3 teams would be? How is it that the meetings with FOTA are with him and not with representatives of the countries as well?

  5. Arnie said on 19th June 2009, 20:19

    If Max didn’t resign after being caught in bed with a bunch of Nazi-themed hookers, I would not expect him to resign over this either.

  6. duncanuaz said on 19th June 2009, 20:23

    Just playing devil’s advocate here… Toyota have already intimated that if they don’t win, they may pull out of F1. Does this mean they would withdraw from FOTA and leave only 7 teams? 14 cars on the grid doesn’t sound great. Or they could bring in some cannonfodder teams to ensure that the big teams keep winning. I’m still undecided on the whole FIA/FOTA thing and keep seeing huge egos and posturing from both sides.

    • HounslowBusGarage said on 19th June 2009, 21:07

      I think you might find that the FOTA Eight have all discussed, and are prepared to, field three cars each in any breakaway series. So 24 cars are probably assured, plus a new team or two, which will relieve the strain on the less affluent teams fielding a third car.
      If a compromise is not forthcoming and if Max is not able to obtain an injunction preventing the FOTA Eight from racing in any other series (unlikely), there will still be twenty-plus cars on a FOTA grid next year.
      Let’s compare and contrast to the FIA Rump. Force India and Williams might be induced to run three car teams. Let’s pretend that Ferrari, Red Bull and Torro Rosso are impelled by contract to run teams. In which case Ferrari might have to run three cars (according to their peculiar and individual contract), Force India would run two. So that’s 13 cars. It’s worth remembering that by it’s own rules, the FIA will not award World Championship points in an event where there are twelve or fewer competitors.
      Fun, init?

      • HounslowBusGarage said on 19th June 2009, 21:11

        I’m sorry, “Force India would run two” should have read “Red Bull and Torro Rosso would run two each”
        And the other point I have just remembered is that the FIA prohibits single car teams.

  7. greg said on 19th June 2009, 20:40

    Max Mosley is right. F1 now is boring.

  8. Leah said on 19th June 2009, 20:44

    Keith, I was wondering if you could do an article explaining exactly why the breakaway has come around. I know it’s to do with the whole “two-tier championship” but I don’t understand how the two-tier championship would work… or what exactly it means!

  9. Oliver said on 19th June 2009, 21:10

    It was Max himself who said FOTA should for their own championship if they don’t like his rules. He also said F1 can survive without Ferrari. Why doesn’t he just let them go. Afterall its an opportunity to have a single spec engine as he had proposed some time back. Imagine the money that would be saved if all F1 teams (sans FOTA :-) ) ran the Cusworth engine. This is a blessing in disguise for Max. Grass Root F1 :-)

    The FIA (Max) has got too involved in F1 instead of concentrating on motor racing in general. What business have the 120 countries, who vote Mosely in, got to do with F1?

  10. HounslowBusGarage said on 19th June 2009, 21:20

    Do you know, I can almost believe I can see the future . . .
    Imagine this; we have Formula 2 with a field of twenty five or so identical cars run by the FIA (not bad at all), and a slightly faster Formula 1 grid of twenty or so identical ‘spec’ cars (no bad thing either), also run by the FIA.
    And then we have a mighty, non-FIA grid of twenty-plus different super-fast, super-evolved cars run as World Grand Prix Racing.
    All three series are vying with each other (via their sponsors) to ensure that their race series of sixteen-or so races per season are screened live and free-to-air to a worldwide audience.
    Unlikely, I know. Still, would be nice wouldn’t it?

  11. Hammad said on 19th June 2009, 21:37

    A thought just occurred to me. Surely both Ferrari and the Red Bull teams have enough money to field budget capped teams in F1, and still have more than enough left over for the FOTA series? Why not just avoid legal action then, and run 2 sets of teams? They can use the budget cap to their advantage, and try out younger drivers.

    • HounslowBusGarage said on 19th June 2009, 21:46

      I think that would be perfectly possible if FIA-F1 was budget capped to £40 m.
      Ferrari and the Mateschitz teams could race until the conclusions of their alleged contracts and then withdraw, leaving the teams that are happy with FIA control to continue.

      • Influenced said on 19th June 2009, 21:53

        That’s very true they could even use it for testing for their rival series. Drivers, Engines and Aero and i’m sure there costs won’t even come near the 40 mill cap… as the only cost would be building the cars and pit crews.

        Also in extra protest they could just go slow.
        How much of that will the FIA take before they THROW them out

    • Pedro Andrade said on 19th June 2009, 21:53

      That could be done, but it would only hurt Ferrari and Red Bull’s reputation, in my opinion.

      • HounslowBusGarage said on 19th June 2009, 22:02

        Yes, but I think what Hammad is getting at is that it would be potentially a lot cheaper to field an FIA-F1 team @ £40m than face many times that amount in punitive damges should the case go against them. Depends on the odds, I suppose.

  12. chaostheory said on 19th June 2009, 22:16

    Did you read latest wisdom from Max?
    “It will all stop sometime between the beginning of 2010 and March 2010, the first race. All this will stop, it will all settle down and everyone will go racing.”

    I was like – “what? 9 months more of this?? 2-3 months damaged reputation of the sport so badly, and he doesn’t mind another 9? This year is ruined by all this it seems and it looked so promising… I hope Fotas announcement is for real so I will watch normal open wheel racing next year.

    • matt said on 20th June 2009, 2:21

      If that’s what he believes then I doubt he’ll be voted as president to see the outcome.

      • scunnyman said on 20th June 2009, 8:26

        the simplest and cheapest solution to this saga is…………………

        the bleeding obvious ……….

        Boot Mosely out of FIA.

  13. Net Sticks said on 20th June 2009, 0:00

    It’s bad – I agree, but better than to bend to Mad Max tyranny. Now he can play with Force India, Campos and other wannabies rookies that not even in GP2 have place…

    He did it – he deserves it. About us – the fans – I don’t feel so pessimistic like you.

    I can see a better “Formula Gold” or whatever name they will came up with, than I’ve been seeing formula one for some time and really, really better than this year stupid circus…

    Playing with regulations looks not very bad – look at the final results of the 2nd Free Practice in Silverstone… Look at all the races this season….!

    Ask the Ferrari, McLaren, BMW, Renault fans if they like it and if they will pay to continue do see this unfair show where a team had mouths and 3 wind tunnels (24hs/7days a week) to build a car and others (like McLaren today) are painting the flanks of their front wings to test the aerodynamics effect – where the paint (blue) appears in the flaks… Ridiculous – that’s a job of the engineers at home in a wind tunnel… not on a Friday free practice… It’s ridiculous, I can’t say enough. I hope Mad Max gets fired and dies broke, but that never happens to the really bad people… And Bernie… take him to an asylum… He’s done a good job over the years, now he’s just around looking like he doesn’t really know we he is… RIDICULOUS!

  14. Nick said on 20th June 2009, 0:06

    I still think that the most likely scenario will be the removal of Max Mosley. It would certainly be the most preferable; to paraphrase Cromwell, he has sat there too long for any good he may have done.

    Both sides are going for extreme brinkmanship here but of the two, FIA has the most to lose, for they need FOTA more than FOTA needs the FIA.

    Should the worse come to the worse, I agree with most posters on here in that FOTA would be more than capable of setting up its own championship and there are enough venues that have been ditched by Bernie over the past few years that would welcome a FOTA F1 Championship (or the breakaway championship that probably won’t be able to call itself F1 because Bernie owns the rights to that name). Silverstone, Imola and Montreal are the three that spring immediately to mind, while Monza’s contract with FIA is up for renewal and Monaco will go with whichever series has Ferrari (that’d be FOTA, then). GPs in France (Magny Cours or the Le Mans Bugatti circuit) and Spain (Jerez?) would work, and the US would certainly be interested in hosting at least one round (but where? probably Indianapolis, although Sebring would be an interesting venue if probably too rough for F1 cars).

    The only problem would be the relatively short notice; all motor racing championship schedules have no doubt already been drawn up, so where would a FOTA F1 series fit in to the schedules?

  15. snoopy said on 20th June 2009, 1:14

    Is there anything in the world what would make Max stop talking???

    He obviously never have learned that there is place and time for everyhting and now is NOT time to say that teams like Ferrari will race normally in Melbourne in next MARCh…Geeeesh

    I can see faces of team bosses turn red, smoke coming out from their ears and digging even deeper hole where they can stay against Max.

    Than man has to be senile or just complete idiot.

    • Gman said on 20th June 2009, 2:01

      My thoughts exactly.

      I honestly don’t think Max has enough teams to fill up even half of the grid for the FIA Championship next season, so I expect him to try and make up with the FOTA teams. Going to court against them, however, is not the way to do it…..

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