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. Maurice Henry
    19th June 2009, 1:24

    This is the link.

  2. The sri lankan
    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?

    1. jinthehouse
      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.

    2. 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.

  3. 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?

    1. Williams made their bed….

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

        1. 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…

    2. Nothing stopping Williams from running in both series.

  4. 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.

    1. Maurice Henry
      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.

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

        1. 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?

          1. 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.

      2. 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!!

        1. Besides the prince of Monaco says he doesn’t want an F1 race without Ferrari in it.

  5. 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!!

  6. We have to nuke the FIA from orbit, it’s the only way to be sure.

    1. Random Chimp
      19th June 2009, 9:00


  7. Max should resign now!!!
    19th June 2009, 1:34


    1. Prisoner Monkeys
      19th June 2009, 5:32

      Yes, because that’s worked in the past …


    2. yes!!!i completely agree with you. we must carry anti- max mosley banners,placards & we should also burn down effigies of max & bernie, all in a peaceful way of course.

    3. Why should should he resign, he’d need common sense to do that, and he hasn’t got enough of that in reserve.

    4. Can someone tell me how other than resigning or being shot,Can Max be removed?? If he is the pinacle of FIA with no bosses or anyone to put him to rites then how or why would he lose his job????

  8. I think I’m happy about this. Mosely/Bernie are an enormous drag on the sport.

    F1 won’t survive as we know it without the Ferrari, McLaren, Toyota, etc. It will instantly become the “B-League” to FOTA. This is especially true since the FOTA teams are going to be driving the best cars in the world (as they’ll be allowed to invest in technology liberally).

    In the short-run, the sport will face tremendous uncertaintly. However, in the long-run, I truly think the sport of racing will be better off for ridding itself of the cumbersome management/regulatory framework that burdens the sport so heavily today.

    1. Even with FOTA series the teams are going to have to save money. It is right that money being spent on F1 has gotten out of hand.

      But the main cause of this has been the constant tinkering with regulations by FIA.

      So it wouldn’t take a genius to realise that if the new series can be more stable then money will be saved easily.

      It would be wrong to ask the teams to spend spend spend just because Max would not be on their backs to do a budget cap.

      I have always agreed on saving money in F1 but just against the budget cap idea.

  9. Maybe the new FOTA series could tag team with Moto GP and race at the same venue on the same weekend. Imagine the crowds every race. Plus there could be two races in the USA :-)

    1. Good idea Dante’

      I have not watched MOTOGP, so i don’t know how much of a weekend they use and what support races they have to allow for the FOTA series to run.

      And as for support races like GP2 and whatever else. I wonder what will happen to them?

    2. Maybe the new FOTA series could tag team with Moto GP

      God, I hope that never happens. MotoGP is more than big enough to stand on its own two feet. Running with FOTA would have a negative diluted effect. MotoGP is a better entertainment spectacle than either of these series could ever be.

      1. did you see rossi’s move on lorenzo last week? that was unbeliveable.

        and three drivers with 106 pts. rossi, lorenzo and hayden.

        In F1 Button is light years away.

        btw they could use the same championship format for points too with moto GP.

        1. did you see rossi’s move on lorenzo last week? that was unbeliveable

          Here’s a reply you will never hear to that question in F1… “which one?”… LOL!!

          I’m presuming you mean the last corner overtake for the win. Did I ever see it, I was right there in the stadium section, I saw it with my own eyes. I went ballistic! Watch the team celebrate, that was me in the stadium…it was amazing, I get a rush of adrenalin every time I think about it.

          Who needs F1?

        2. oh, btw…

          and three drivers with 106 pts. rossi, lorenzo and hayden.

          Its three riders with 106pts… Rossi, Lorenzo & Stoner


          1. sorry stoner!! haha. yes, the battle for the lead changed hands quite a bit, the spanish gp for motogp was more exciting than all the spanish GP’s f1 has. right?? my apologies to Stoner of Ducati, foolish me.haha

        3. you mean:
          … three drivers with 106 pts. rossi, lorenzo and STONER.

          1. It was an awesome race for sure. Who said Barcelona always produces dull races ;)

  10. Max should resign now!!!
    19th June 2009, 1:40

    I’ve been thinking of something and FIA’s F1 is over no track will pay those sums of money to Bernie just to have Force India, Manor, Campos and Williams racing there and The track sponsors such as Santander won’t pay for this. It might last one or two more years but it’s over. MAx you have dug your own grave!!!!

  11. Looks like ‘F 1 fanatic’ gets to change its name.

  12. i think this will be the first time F1 won’t be the pinnacle of motorsport. now time for lots of confusion for fans and im just glad my favourite teams and drivers are together. as long as the cars are fast and in australia, i’m happy.

  13. F1 Outsider
    19th June 2009, 1:54

    I speculate that FOTA will announce Silverstone as part of their 2010 calendar this very GP weekend. That would really put one of Bernie.

    1. hehe yep, when button stands on the top spot of the podium. He will announce it in his press conference.

      And the beauty of it all the FIA and Bernie cannot do a thing

    2. yes very possible, but i would think they would want to have the whole foundation of a new series in place before any announce ment was made.
      Maybe if a member of FOTA were interviewed on the subject of Silverstone they may agree it would be on their calendar though.

      Let’s not forget thought that i’m sure FOTA would still prefer to be in F1 if MAX resigned.

  14. F1 Outsider
    19th June 2009, 1:55

    I speculate that FOTA will announce Silverstone as part of their 2010 schedule this very GP weekend. That would really put one over Bernie.

    1. F1 Outsider
      19th June 2009, 1:55

      Sorry for the multi-post.

  15. StrFerrari4Ever
    19th June 2009, 1:56

    This day was always going to come it was just a question of when today is that day and I have to say R.I.P F1 but Max & Bernie have been making this crazy formula and it’s exploded.I’m right behind FOTA and i feel that they will be succesful yes there will be a few bumps to get through but as soon as they manage them we will see pure racing.The best drivers , best cars , best designers no interference from Max The Lord is GOOD :D

    1. I wonder if it will come to pass that people will be saying “WHERE WERE YOU ON THE DAY THAT F1 WAS SPLIT”?

  16. Toby Bushby
    19th June 2009, 1:58

    Already said it, but it won’t happen. Forget about F1 sponsorship loss. What about FOTA sponsorship gain? How are they going to get track, series and team sponsorship? Who exactly is the broadcaster of these races in each country? Who’s actually filming the races? I know who films F1, and we all know who broadcasts it in our respective countries, and so do sponsors.

    I think that all of this is smokescreen for what’s really going on. Conversations with CVC. Remember them? They own F1. They can fire Bernie, and they surely could arrange to have Max dealt with if they wished. Let’s wait while Max backs down a bit. I’m sure this deadline will be stretched “in the interests of both parties and the sport as a whole”.

    1. With the end of the 14 year deal from 1995 with the FIA, could Bernie and FOA be about to leave Max in the cold and jump on board with FOTA??

      Is this legally possible does anyone know?

      1. I hope FOTA is smart enough to realize that Bernie is part of the problem and not part of the solution. There are other companies that can produce film or video the races and show them thru satellite. They dont need FOM or CVC or anyone associated with Bernie or Max or any other entity of the FIA>

      2. Bartholomew
        19th June 2009, 13:43

        Fota would have the same desire to continue with Bernie, as they would have to catch the black plague

    2. Maurice Henry
      19th June 2009, 2:33

      The sponsors are paying the teams. The sponsorship of circuits will be up for a change because companies like Dutch bank ING are pulling out at the end of 2009.

      Think positively. The circuits pay a modest franchise fee for a spot on the calendar. Bear in mind that Monza pays the smallest FOM fee of just US$3 million per year. Montreal’s deal was blown out because Bernie wanted a bank/government guarantee of US$143 million over 5 years. The average fee is US$40 million!

      FOTA can make this work by not screwing over the fans, promoters, sponsors and each other.

      Mercedes and Audi seem to have made DTM work over the last few years with the ITR so it can be donw. Last year was a cracking series.

    3. Nice Take Toby.

  17. The new serie has planned 15-17 races which include Algarve, Jerez, Magny-Cours, Monaco, Imola, Mugello, Hockenheim, Silverstone A1-Ring, Indianapolis, Montreal, Mexico City, Buenos Aires, Fuji, Sepang, Phillip Island (Australia), Losail (Qatar), Yas Marina (Abu Dhabi)and Welkom (Etelä-Afrikka).

    So here we go new series and no Max and no Bernie….woohoo.

    1. I really hope that’s not right.

      No Suzuka, Spa, Monza, Nurburgring, and no Albert Park/Adelaide.

      1. Maurice Henry
        19th June 2009, 2:46


        They may gravitate over to the new series or be forced into doing so in the face financial oblivion by the potential lack of interest in FIA F1.

        I still think this is a very bold move to outflank Max and Bernie and force one or both of them out and get concessions on governance and money. They’re out to prove a point. People are into F1 for drivers, teams, close racing, techy stuff, history and passion not crusty old men in suits at the FIA. Bring in a bunch of nobodies in 2010 and we will see the FIA regulating GP2+. Consequently people will turn off.

        Don’t forget that this will work both ways. If they do split the current FIA F1 circuits will find it hard to get a new deal with major sponsors as they will not have the same quality ‘show’ to put on for the TV companies. What will TV companies do? Remember the 2004 US GP. No one wanted the broadcast rights within the US so FOM TV provided the feed with onboard cameras etc, etc. TV may be turned on to FOTA by a more sensible pricing of the product but it must remain free to air. This Unfortunately means ITV, Channel 4 or Five in the UK. I can’t see BBC having the room to fit it into their already overcrowded sports schedule.

    2. I know you’ve got some F1 Paddock connections, so if this is a real list it’s very good. I’d also like to see Spa, Suzuka and some others on there. But if this is the start of a schedule for a breakaway series, it’s very good. Not only is there expansion into places like the Middle East, but races in Britain and elsewhere are protected.

      Lastly, but not least, it means a return for World Championship racing to right here in the USA, baby!!!! Even if it is at Indy, just the thought of the best racing in the world on my home soil makes me jump for joy!!

    3. Where did you get this info snoopy???

  18. Sorry…did write some country names in finnish…

    Etela-Afrikka aka South_Africa

  19. Where do I get my tickets about time!

  20. Max should resign now!!!
    19th June 2009, 2:13

    If Murray Walker would commentate I’d be in heaven!!!

    1. hahaha omg that would be so sweeeeet!

    2. It would be nice to get Murray’s view on this subject.

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