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. Spiffy said on 19th June 2009, 1:06

    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.

  2. Tony W said on 19th June 2009, 1:07

    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!

    • Charlie said on 19th June 2009, 13:32

      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.

  3. Brett M said on 19th June 2009, 1:07

    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!!!!!!

    • Gman said on 19th June 2009, 1:13

      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 ;)

      • Max should resign now!!! said on 19th June 2009, 1:26

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

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

        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.

  4. Cameron said on 19th June 2009, 1:13

    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).

  5. Salty said on 19th June 2009, 1:17


    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.


  6. 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.

    • scunnyman said on 19th June 2009, 5:56

      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.

  7. Prisoner Monkeys said on 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.

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

      • Prisoner Monkeys said on 19th June 2009, 1:47

        Yeah, and that’s going to be cheap.

        • jinthehouse said on 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.

    • phil c said on 19th June 2009, 2:51

      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.

    • Oliver said on 19th June 2009, 13:36

      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.

  8. manatcna said on 19th June 2009, 1:21

    I wonder what the BBC will do

    • John H said on 19th June 2009, 1:30

      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.

  9. Untitled258 said on 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.

    • scunnyman said on 19th June 2009, 6:13

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

  10. Maurice Henry said on 19th June 2009, 1:24

    This is the link.

  11. The sri lankan said on 19th June 2009, 1:26

    actually……does this mean teams will start work on a new car? im sure for most teams work on the the 2010 F1 challangers are underway but with a new series what are the cars going to look like and whren does the work on them start? its quite late as it is to make another racing car th this stage especially for next year. any thoughts?

    • jinthehouse said on 19th June 2009, 2:07

      tracks are hard. insurance and promoters will be difficult. But when people have a chance to make millions of dollars and give a giant FU to a hated political rival, people seem to do amazing things.

      I would assume they would just use the cars they started designing. The FIA or FOM have no copyright on the cars. I assume.

    • scunnyman said on 19th June 2009, 6:19

      I would say to save money FOTA would leave the cars as they are this season, but allow more testing so the teams can become closer for next season. If they could get some of the new teams waiting in the wings to join then they could(maybe) design their cars to 2009 regs.

      from 2011 then the FOTA series may decide to redesign the cars to suit a better series with better tracks and better drivers than the F1 series.

  12. Much as I think this showdown had to happen, for the good of the fans and the sport, it is terrible news for Williams isn’t it?

    • Martin said on 19th June 2009, 3:24

      Williams made their bed….

      • scunnyman said on 19th June 2009, 6:21

        I believe Williams had no choice but to apply to the F1 championship.

        • Adrian said on 19th June 2009, 9:30

          Williams may have to sit out the 2010 season of the FOTA series, but if Max’s F1 does manage to provide the teams with a profit then I see no reason why Williams couldn’t sign up to compete in BOTH series.

          Alternatively, I could still see Williams jumping ship and going with FOTA – there’s nothing that say they have to field a competitive team in F1 next year…

    • Oliver said on 19th June 2009, 13:45

      Nothing stopping Williams from running in both series.

  13. Damian said on 19th June 2009, 1:30

    This is how I see it…

    1) The tracks can’t afford to run two races, will want to go with the breakaway series, but will need to get out of their contracts with Bernie
    2) Until they can get out of their contracts, the tracks will not commit to races with the rival series.
    3) There is no rival F1 series until there is a calendar.
    4) The sponsors will not want to spend any money until they are sure there is a calendar and so a series.

    So we will have a stalemate. Meanwhile, the motorsport authorities will be putting pressure on Max to resign. This means both sides will be groveling to each other to reconsider.

    The most likely scenario is that someone caves in.

    The second most likely, considering the stalemate outlined above, would be no series at all. Most of the teams wouldn’t mind this, considering the recession. They would all like a year off to save money and come back stronger next year.

    Even if the rival series can get the tracks together, the FIA will be moving to get rid of Mosley. Maybe then the teams would be invited back into the fold, on their terms. Because it would be embarrassing to run a series where the second best team is Force India. This is the third most likely situation.

    A distant, distant fourth option is the two series, but I see one of the above happening first.

    • Maurice Henry said on 19th June 2009, 2:22


      Silverstone is out of contract after this year. They’ve got Moto GP coming in 2010. Hockenheim is out of contract after 2010 and Nurburgring cannot afford the franchise fee on its own so they might drop off the calendar. France is off the calendar at the moment, but Paul Ricard is still owned by a Bernie company, I think. Spain Valencia/Jerez/Barcelona. Portugal (Portimao). Surfer’s Paradise has got A1 GP from this upcoming season but they could be interested. Montreal, Indy, Suzaka or Fuji. Imola, Brno.

      The thing is Damian, the contracts are already drawn up and I seriously doubt they exclude other events from the circuit (pesky EU laws on competition as well as goods services and trade). The promoters can sign deals with other series as they see fit. I think they are all up for grabs as they can see more of a share of the real profits from the races. The only ones that won’t are those owned by Bernie.

      Barcelona and Sahkir Bahrain have contracts until 2016. Istanbul Park, which Bernie paid US$180 million for, has a contract up to 2021. Hungaroring sign a five year extension in 2007. Singapore was set up by a long time frind of Bernie, Ong Beng Seng who covers 40% of the US$140 million cost of the race. Sadly Sau Paulo extended their contract in November 2008 up until 2014. Also no Monaco. Spa…no one knows who paid the US$50 million for the upgrade of the pit and paddock… probably Bernie. Donnington – I’ll be interested if Gillette wants to shoot his mouth off about having a 17 year contract right now.

      • Brett M said on 19th June 2009, 3:05

        Surfers Paradise is a disgraceful excuse for a track (in my opionion that is)

        • scunnyman said on 19th June 2009, 6:27

          I quite like Surfer’s paradise. It would be nice to see F1 style cars racing through surfer’s chicanes like they do/did in indycar.
          HAs anyone driven surfer’s on a video game?
          I have with toca race driver games and it is not that easy. So it would be a challenge for the teams and drivers.
          Also i’d be interesting if Fota would like to try for BATHURST as a track?

          • PinballLes said on 19th June 2009, 6:47

            Bathurst would be awesome, but not very realistic. It’s kind of in the middle of nowhere, to far from a main capital city and an international airport to be practical I would expect.

      • Adrian said on 19th June 2009, 9:35

        Actually there could be a Monaco race. It was mentioned in the coverage of this year’s race that Monaco is actually the 1 race on the calendat that doesn’t have a contract with FOM – it’s just always on the calendar!!

        And as has previously been mentioned, there is nothing Bernie can do to stop circuits signing up to host another series on a different weekend to F1 – at least not the circuits he doesn’t own – due to EU competition laws!!

  14. MGBGT said on 19th June 2009, 1:31

    F1 As we know & Love it will never survive without the 8 members of FOTA!Lets hope it becomes 9 or 10 to include the vital Frank Williams & USF1 with Matt Bishop,Let Bernard run his series as GP3 or something & let the Masters of the current grid make their breakaway series “Faster & as technically challenging as possible”
    BrettM had the first great Question where will they race?? Bernard has a load of stuff tied up lets hope the classic circuits will both remain & be re introduced!!Who’s gonna run it?? Mansell,Stewart,Hill,Branson,Jordan,Todt?? I’ll have a go!!
    Viva FOTA Maybe Max & Bernard should apply for their “Paddock Club” Passes soon!!

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