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

2009 F1 seasonPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

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

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

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  1. The sri lankan
    19th June 2009, 0:54

    Some one please tell me this is a joke. i always thaught this idea of a seperate championship was indeed a Leverage plan. why does Max have to bve so dam stubborn? this is exactly what happened to Indyacars and champcars and back in the day that series used to be the alternative to f1 until they destoyed thmselves. i really trully pray that common sense prevails and these people stick to the normal F1 championship

  2. K, I hope they see it through though. It’s time to have a proper racing series. And I hope the court cases against Ferrari and Red Bull, the ones definitely going to happen, don’t detract from this.

  3. Damn..ass..hell…

  4. Go FOTA. I’ll watch.

  5. It’s looking extremely likely Button will be the last F1 World Drivers Champion.

    2007 and 2008 were two of the most entertaining seasons I have witnessed. Not capitalising on this just highlights how much the FIA and FOM have blundered IMHO.

    1. I disagree on Button.

      He’ll just be the last REAL F1 World Drivers Champion.

      If things are not sorted like grownups then from 2010 they will be lesser champions.

  6. Well I’ll be, if this doesnt bring Max, Bernie and the FIA to its knees nothing will. I will certainly follow the FOTA series if it starts, but I do believe this is the last ace in the pack and are calling the FIA’s bluff. Either way the new series would finally allow some awesome engineering and racing machines. I for one will be watching. F1 next year without the current teams will wither away and never recover. The FIA have to collapse now, but more likely Bernie will be proverbially sh****ng himself!

    1. I am very surprised at how quiet Bernie has been lately.

      1. Me too. I wonder what he’s doing behind the scenes?

  7. Hopefully this also means an end to Sepang, Singapore, Shanghai, Valencia and Barcelona.

    Hopefully FOTA sees sense and includes Magny Cours, Montreal, Jerez, Portimao and A1 Ring.

    1. Don’t forget one or more venues in the United States as well….

      1. Agreed Gman.

        I’m sure FOTA (and don’t forget they can’t be called fota if they are not in F1) know the importance of the USA market and will try to get someone Like Tony George to help them sort a couple of venues in America. Even help the series in America too.

        1. Indeed, thanks for the backing. Also, a FOTA series would protect races in Britian, France, Canada, and elsewhere. We’d also see venues that have good fanbases- Mexico, Argentina- return hopefully.

          The really ironic thing is if a new series dose come to Indy, where many people think Tony George’s ego was the overwhelming factor in the IRL/Champ Car split.

    2. jinthehouse
      19th June 2009, 1:56

      The A1 Ring. Ewwwwwwww. Maybe if you travelled back in time and stole the one from the 70’s. Where in time is Caromn Santiego styles.

    3. Niel, the grandstands and pit buildings of the A1 Ring were demolished long ago. The rebuilding will be finished by the end of 2010, and Dietrich Mateschitz (the owner) has ruled out any chance of a F1 (or a FOTA-series, probably) race in the venue. It will only be used for DTM races.

  8. Max should resign now!!!
    19th June 2009, 1:00

    I hope it’s only a bluff. Anyway if it¿s true than it’s a very very sad thing. I’ll never watch F1 again and I hate to admit that the FOTA championship or however it will be called will not be the same it will take many years to develp a mystique around it.
    F1 R.I.P.

    1. True, it won’t have the history of F1 :(

      1. Duh!!!! think back to 1949. Was there a Formula One Chamionship then????
        Nope. Of course not. It took years to get a history and a mystique.

        And it does not mean that the races will not have the history.

        Just think of the INDY 500. How many different series has that been involved? if you look at the trophy for indy it will have all the winners whichever series they were in at the time.

        So look at Monaco, which may go to the FOTA run series. It wouldn’t be a F1 race anymore but the winner would still be classed along all previous winners.

        Really the point is, if F1 dies then the new series will be F1 in all but name.

        1. Max should resign now!!!
          19th June 2009, 8:13

          I’m just pointing out that this is a shame and a waste we already had 60 years of history within the sport and it’s been great so far.
          Maybe Monaco will be there in the calendar but who knows how much longer it will take for Spa, Monza, Suzuka, Interlagos and others to join? Just the name change will be confusing for may who watch the races occasionally. I’m all for FOTA and their series but I would really prefer for Mosley to resign and everything to continue as it is now (Of course with all the things FOTA is proposing).
          Now the first couple of years could be horrible not all fans are going to jump to FOTA’s series many will be confused by having fia’s F1 racing side by side and I guess not all of us are going to be able to watch the races, that will depend on how fast TV coverage grows.
          I live in Argentina and I never get to see Le Mans it’s one of the most important races of the year but T.V. stations here think it’s not worth to broadcast it. So I do have some doubts about this.
          So i hope it’s a big bluff from FOTA but if it’s not well then LONg LIVE FOTA!!!

        2. Monaco have said earlier they are not interested in an F1 race without Ferrari.

  9. Good for the FOTA to make a stand and the willingness to take a risk and start something that adhere to their values instead of someone elses. I am sure the new series will have alot of hicups but I for one will be looking forward to its growth and races!

  10. Scott Joslin
    19th June 2009, 1:06

    Urgh!!!! When will this hell end! A split will never work.

    Mosley needs de-throning – end of, then we can have a proper debate.

    As Martin Brundle puts it “Come on guys, lets take a sensible pill”

    What a way to overshadow the last Grand Prix at Silverstone. Shame!

    1. I think this is great news for Silverstone personally.

      FOTA will almost certainly have them on the list for the new series. this effectively saves hundreds of jobs at the circuit.

      1. I agree, and perhaps the best part is about hundreds of jobs being saved. Max and Bernie were too big to think about that kind of stuff……

  11. It’s too bloody late in the night for me to wrap my head around this and all its implications now. I just know that FOTA’s proposals in their press release, though fantastic, sound very idealistic…if the ‘new series’ isn’t a massive bluff.

    Whatever happens now, I still support FOTA and trust that this is the best course of action they felt they could take.

  12. Oh and another thing, if it does go through we can get rid of those piddly 2.4 litre engines and get some turbo power going!

    1. If you want your drivers to pull 8g, pass out, crash and die then yes, by all means bring back turbo. And let’s have ground effect as well while we’re at it.

      Engineering tolerances aren’t just for carbon fibre and rubber…

      It’s a bit of a harsh response but people forget why these things were banned in the first place.

  13. Lets hope that the FOTA hold firm – a dictatorship as exists now is not good for any sport
    One question – what tracks will be avaliable for the new series? Silverstone may get a GP next year after all and please bring back Nurburg, Montreal and maybe Adelaide!!!!!!

    1. The last 2 plus Silverstone would be great- plus one or more in the United States.

      I’m not sure how many of the current venues are tied in with FOM Contracts, but assuming any circuit can join, we can have Suzuka every year :) plus Imola, Algarve, Motorland Aragon, and lost of other good ones.

      Plus, no more Valencia, Barcelona, Hungaroring ;)

      1. Max should resign now!!!
        19th June 2009, 1:26

        Imola!!! that would be great! What about Laguna Seca? I’m drooling already…

      2. Well m8 if you are right and FOM may have no hold over the circuits, maybe FOTA will really listen to us fans and have a survey they really listen to which could include which tracks we would like to be used along with other bits and pieces we might like.

  14. Bye Bye Max and Bernie… Hello FOTA! :) I’m all for the split, if even after this call Max and co refuse to give in. I’ll watch. Hopefully Sky TV here in New Zealand take up coverage of this new championship! (and keep F1 coverage, if Prodive, Williams etc end up on the grid next year).

  15. Good.

    F1 was always about racing & innovation.

    FIA was about politics and ego for too long.

    I wish the FOTA every sucess and look forward to the racing.


  16. I think Williams and Force India might start to scratch their heads as their sponsors would think twice to pour them some money for some kind of F3 races, in which there will be no Ferrari, Macca, Reanult or so.

    1. Maybe if they had sense both teams would have a get out clause in their contracts so they could jump back to FOTA if they wish.
      Frank Williams has been quoted as saying they are there for racing only so i’m sure they would want to be in a series for real racing, and not the kind of racing we might see in F1 if this split does go ahead.

  17. Prisoner Monkeys
    19th June 2009, 1:19

    I sincerly hope that this is an eleventh-hour attempt to scare the FIA into … something. I remain convinced that a FOTA-backed series is doomed to failure for several reasons, including a lack of teams; FOTA can field sixteen cars where the FIA can run with twenty-six. FOTA cannot get new teams from anywhere: given the economy, no-one is going to be willing to build a team from the ground up, and the FIA already has all the entries in their pocket. Likewise, you can bet Bernie Ecclestone will be signing contracts with circuits to say they’ll work with him and none other (unless he hasn’t done so already). Everything needs to be negotiated with corprorate sponsors, broadcast partners, circuits owners and event organisers, all of which will take time that FOTA does not have.

    1. FOTA teams might race on track with 3 cars per team, which makes it 24.

      1. Prisoner Monkeys
        19th June 2009, 1:47

        Yeah, and that’s going to be cheap.

        1. jinthehouse
          19th June 2009, 2:02

          I don’t think you can make someone sign a contract preventing them from doing business with another party. And why would a race track want that. For the joy of paying BE $60 Million a year (with no Ferrari ect).

          Besides. You can look for tracks outside the F1 calender. BE can’t sign em all. I can’t see Nurb or Hock going to sign to BE. They barely wanna pay what he wants now.

    2. I think you will find FOTA series will be more popular, Bernie cannot stop tracks hosting other races. This is commerical suicide for the track and not only this against the law. As for new teams. A fota series unlike the f1 series will more then likely gurantee 80% – 90% of tv revenue goes to the teams. Unlike current. It has already been worked out a new series will give the teams the same money they are currently getting. Difference is they own the series, The have a vested interest in it therefore they will all work together. As for tracks, Silverstone will sign up tommorrow morning. Existing tracks that bernie does not own can do what ever they like. Think about it you can host the current f1 grid bar 4 teams at 1/2 if not 1/3 of the cost. Not only that the deal is sweetened further with the tracks owning everything. Paddock club etc etc. Currently different companies own advertising boards, paddock club etc etc. Tracks will make profit.

      You also need to think that there would be several contract relating to f1 and bernie that will fall over. People signed contract with the current grid. I have no doubt if 80% of that grid walk away, there will be breaches.

      Bernie, FIA and f1 is dead all because of power, cash and ego’s.

      The winner here is the fans.

    3. Several teams have pulled out their application to enter F1, Lola and N technologies, who is to say the others on the waiting list will not do likewise.

  18. I wonder what the BBC will do

    1. If Bernie goes with FOTA (a possibility) then BBC have a contract with FOM, not the FIA.

      Bernie also has the rights to the ‘Formula One’ name (the FIA, as I understand, have ‘World Championship’)

      In a way, ironically, the fans might actually need Bernie in order to keep the racing on a terrestrial channel.

  19. Untitled258
    19th June 2009, 1:21


    Phone interview thing, with David Croft on 5live. Apparently they already have a list of possible tracks they may choose to race at.

    1. Just listened to the radio interview, i found it very interesting, but nothing we didn’t already know.

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