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. It’s about time! I am glad to see FOTA standing up to tyranny and injustice. Bring on the new series!

  2. Alonso Ferrari
    19th June 2009, 2:19

    Woooo hooooo NO more bernie and max da whippy mosley!

    FOTA good luck! i’ll be watching!

  3. Remembering what a split like this did to IndyCar makes me want to cry :(

    1. Differnce is that there really isn’t one race that makes the series like Indy did. Also it was more of a 50/50 split, this is more like 80/20 split.

      1. Yeah exactly. Plus IndyCar was focused pretty much on the U.S. and Canada as one market, where FOTA would have a worldwide audience.

        A FOTA-run series would pretty much be the current F1, but with a different name and much more friendly to the circuits and fans :)

    2. I would hope that FOTA will look to the INDYCAR split and not make the same mistakes

    3. Me too…

      The big teams went to CART (Penske, Ganassi & Newman/Haas), the historical context (Indy speedway) went to the IRL. Roger Penske, when he decided to switch from CART to IRL said that he had to get back to Indy (the 500). That was the moment reunification North America became possible.

      The historical context will stay with the FIA sanctioned Formula 1 World Championship. Kids in America grow up wanting to win the Indy 500 (like Foyt or Unser), not the CART championship. Some also grow up here wanting to win the F1 World Driver’s Championship (like Andretti or Villenuve) not the FOTA whatever championship.

      I really hope that this nonsense is solved without a FOTA split. It will just lead to few years of crappy racing.

      I was a devoted CART fan, but was overjoyed when they shutdown and joined the IRL. FOTA fans beware.

  4. I’m not writing off a last second deal being made. I’m all for FOTA in its own breakaway series, but it’s a real uncertainty, taking into account all the posts been made so far.

    Well done, Max, you absolute pillock.

    1. Couldn’t agree more Loki

      Especially the bit about the absolute pillock lol

  5. Curiously, the FOTA statement DOES NOT state that the teams are withdrawing their entries ..

  6. Maurice Henry
    19th June 2009, 2:49

    Just a thought. What about DTM running as a support race at a few of the FOTA GPs?

    1. Nice idea if it’s feasible, but maybe DTM would want to be the main event?

  7. If the FIA can get rid of CVC and Bernie I predict they will prevail and FOTA will die. CVCs investment just crashed. MAX is not the FIA and he has limited tenure like the rest of us so try getting over the ad hominem to see it is either the FIA or a bunch of anti trust inspired teams and manufacturers.

    The sponsorship money won’t be there for FOTA at anywhere near F1 levels and they won’t get the venue contributions as national governments can’t duplicate and regional govts can’t afford it. FOM has the revenues for both venues and TV rights locked in for a few years and FOTA won’t get anywhere near the money needed even after deducting CVCs debilitating current share. If you want to watch races at MotoGP tracks go right ahead, you might get Silverstone but there might not be much more in formula one suitable racing venues that can pull both crowds and revenues.

    FOTA will have trouble funding Americas, mid east, Asia and Australia logistics costs with zip in subsidies coming from host nations and a depleted amount from TV.

    The F1fanatic majority will get what they voted for and when it turns pear shaped you can even keep blaming Max. Victory all around except for racing competition and a sustainable and more global sport.

    1. you’re looking at it wrong.

      bernie still has guaranteed revenue from many sources for many years thanks to the multi year contracts.

      it’s a winfall since the teams leaving are the teams in the concord agreement who are owed money and make money from points in the series.

      every new team coming in wont get that same deal – so bernie/fia/cvc potentially are set to profit from it.

      1. If the folks who signed the multi-year contracts with Bernie were smart, they’d have clauses in there that discussed contingencies around Ferrari and others leaving the sport. Depending on which jurisdiction will apply, this can be seen as a material change that needs a contract renegotiation.

        Of course, they may not have been smart. But litigation may be an option too, especially if the new F1 really does not draw enough interest from fan.

        I understand an Italian TV broadcaster has already stated they would revisit the contract if Ferrari left.

        Will be interesting to see how this plays out, assuming this is not a bluff.

    2. Yeah the national governments aren’t going to be giving out those contributions…..because the new series isn’t going to charge them FOM prices to begin with!!! And with no disrespect to anyone, you aren’t going to see nations with tremendous historical and commercial importance to the sport left out in favor of nations where the national government just pays to get a place on the schedule.

      You see, circuits may actually make a profit…..yes, a profit!!!….from hosting such races. The venues will be lining up to be a part of it, if they haven’t already.

      1. Absolutely, Gman.

        FOTA can now make it’s own media rights deal, where THEY can actually make some money from TV. Here in America, cable channels have grabbed 90% of Nascar, IRL, and ARCA –I’m thinking maybe ABC might want a world-class sporting event back in it’s repertoire. After all, Olympics come so seldom.

        Therefore, they(FOTA) can offer the tracks a better deal then ever they got from Bernie. And there are enough tracks Bernie has offended/alienated over the years, and those who couldn’t/wouldn’t pay Bernie’s huge fees, to keep FOTA going a long time. And I still wanna see a race at Sears Point, call me old-fashioned.

    3. So m0tion, what is your solution?

      1. scunnyman. FOTA should agree to funding caps that work for any serious entry team (incl F3/GP2/A1 teams stepping up by a half on funding). The money pool used to guide policy should be a 10 year average and not what you pull out at the top of a bubble. FOM and CVC must go and a representative FIA constituted body keep control. No Max is OK with me if they can find someone tough enough and who won’t surrender to manufacturer rules extortion like that pulled off by Ferrari. I used to think highly of Ferrari and now think nothing of them. For those that don/t think small countries should have any say – I don’t agree. Small countries should have every opportunity of entry and running races with hurdles that are jumpable. FOTA won’t get the money, they probably won’t get 30% of the F1 last year revenue.

        1. Have you thought about the logistical and financial costs associated with winding down an operation? Suddenly moving from 200million to 40million is probably going to cost the teams more financially. They don’t even have enough time to do an audit of what direction to follow with a cap as they have infrastructures that will be dispensed with and this will affect their profit/loss balance.
          Its far easier for a new team to meet with the budget cap than an existing team.

  8. On behalf of a true fan, I am ecstatic that the FOTA is not giving in.

    I do not want to see F1 divided, but I wish more not to see F1 run exclusively by the FIA with no check or balances to their rule.

    I will be watching the FOTA championship next year. Not F1.

  9. Three words,

    frustration of contract.

  10. Keith,
    Could you give us a little information on the legality of all the teams leaving F1 next year? I had been under the impression that some teams (ferrari?, red bull?) teams were under contract for next season.

    If so, you have to believe that F1 will exercise all its legal options stop them from leaving. Any thoughts?

    Abe Froman
    Sausage King of Chicago

    1. you raise a good point. bernie “i’ll sue their asses off” ecclestone is not going down quietly.

      by the way, ferris bueller’s day off is one of my very favorite movies!

  11. Now the IRL-ICS champion will have as much of a claim of being a world champion as the other two leagues. Where is the credibility?

    1. still more respectable than boxing’s titles

  12. 25 tv station from different countries has been intresting about TV rights of new serie allready. Point is that Bernie has contracts but only F1 rights. New series will ahve new name so Bernie can not stop Tvs show other series. So much about Bernie stopping FOTA.

    About licences. FIA control only driver licenses of FIA races…so if FOTA make other series what dont belongs to FIA, FIA can not stop drivers drive there. Autosport organizatio in every country control only races under FIA so they can not stop races either.

    So all problems solved lol.

    They have race tracks, TVs,sure a lot of fans . biggest teams and best cars and drivers….nothing really can not stop them.

    Bernie was stupid enough to say that some teams will leave FOTA. well that just made FOTA stronger. Max and Bernie has not learned that they should not stir pot when its spoiling allready. They did burn themselves and can not still understand how it happened.

  13. Its a shame that 60 years of history have to be buried.

    But we wont have any more MAX & BERNIE who only understand there glory not the spectator

    1. I beg to differ.

      The history, the heart of the sport, lies in the teams, the drivers, the tracks themselves not in the FIA.

      Whatever they may decide to call the new series, THAT is where the history will be, because that is where the premier teams and drivers will be.

      And they will have the respect to stage races at the historical tracks, like Silverstone.

      History buried ?

      I think not.

  14. i think the teams running the series is a big problem.

    sure none of them likes the FIA but that’s because the FIA set the rules, no one likes the rules maker.

    think about it, let’s just pretend this year there was no FIA and the whole diffuser row was in play, do you really think with the teams having their own vote on the rules would have let brawn, toyota and williams race?

    or would the losing majority rule in their own favor?

    sure everyone hates the fia – but you need someone to be the bad guy to try and keep it unbias and fair.

    yes the fia has been perceived as bias at times, but it’s nothing to what a majority vote of losing teams would be.

    who’d really want falvio on a rule making board…

    IMO having the team govern the sport will screw everything up.

    1. jinthehouse
      19th June 2009, 4:40

      There called arbitrators. North American sports us them to settle contract disputes. The FIA also has no monopoly on them either. the fia has a monopoly of very few things.

      and besides. differences may become easier to settle when everyone is sharing series profits and not bitching over prize money.

    2. F1 Outsider
      19th June 2009, 4:44

      It wouldn’t have been a problem in the first place had the rules been clearly set, which is what FOTA proposes.

  15. I wonder what will happen over TV rights and what about new circuits like Abu Dhabi where billions of dollars are being spent to showcase F1. How upset would you be to discover that all that investment may be for 1 race only. Perhaps even the last ever F1 race in history. I doubt that the new series will even be allowed to call itself F1 because Bernie owns the name. What will they call the new series? One thing is certain, those good ole boys Max and Bernie have mis-judged the mood of the teams this time. Is Ron Dennis lurking somewhere in the background already negotiating possible venues for next season? The plot thickens!!

    1. I don’t mean any disrespect to any venue by saying this, but it just gose to show you that any county can buy a venue, but they can’t by things like history, tradition, and a great national fanbase…

      1. Not being picky Gman m8 but why do you always type gose instead of goes?

  16. Outstanding news ! The hell with the FIA. And I disagree that this was the worst possible outcome and will be bad for F1. This will be very good for F1. There will be only one championship, FOTA’s, and that’s that. And I don’t sympathize w/ Williams. They have not been anywhere near the top for over a decade. They are irrelevant.

    1. So history and true racing spirit add up to nothing now? Ferrari were ”nowhere” for 21 years when they weren’t champions? Williams was forced to take Bernie’s money because it lost an important sponsors in Baugur group after the financial breakdown of Iceland. Williams were forced out of FOTA, they didn’t left of their own free will.

  17. This is fantastic news. good on them for having a backbone. To hell with bernie and max, they have been a cancer to the sport. F1 is about the manufacturers, cars and drivers all competing at the highest level. I wanna see the real teams.

    People are bored of Brawns dominance… think of the FIA championship next year! Williams against the small fry! think they wanted to be big fish in a small pond! lol

    1. Brawn,

      right on !

  18. 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).

    Looks like halfthe tracks will be absolutely fantastic! Algarve, Jerez, Monaco, Imola, Mugello, Silverstone, Montreal, Mexico City (not Puebla, I’m hoping), Buenos Aires and Kyalami (Assuming that’s the track in Welkom) should all provide fantastic racing. I’d really rather see the American round held at Laguna Seca or Watkins Glen but I’m not sure if either are up to whatever safety spec the FOTA series will be running. I think Fuji would be a mistake seeing as how it’s always provided boring race weekends compared to the weekends at Suzuka. Not sure if there are any real alternatives to Magny-ours or Hock/Nur in the next few years. Euro Speedway isn’t a horrible track as far as infield tracks go (Sooo much better than Indy) but the FOTA series will be great if/when Spa, Interlagos, Monza and hopefully Melbourne come on board. Looking forward to either likely result: the end of Bernie, Max or a completely new and actually exciting series (Based on racing, not drama. What an alien thought!).

    1. Kyalami (Assuming that’s the track in Welkom)

      No, the track in Welkom is Pakhisa which has hosted MotoGP in the past. Kyalami is in Midrand in Gauteng. Kyalami recently hosted the SBK championship, and the A1GP.

      But Kyalami will not be able to host F1 or the breakaway series because the track facilities are not up to scratch…

      1. I agree about Watkins Glen (historic, great layout, close to my home) or Laguna Seca (same but on the other side of the country from me) as an American venue. But if Indy gets it, still a good deal, much better than no race at all as we currently have :)

        1. I thought you had said in the past that Watkins Glen was a non starter to host a race?

  19. MAX, put that in your gimp mask and smoke it!

    To those citing the IRL/Champ Car split, it’s not the same circumstances.

    Bernie and Max have strangled F1 to an inch of it’s life. Bernie, because he owes CVC and Max because he’s a megalomaniac who thinks his opinions are the only ones that matter.

    I was feeling down about the situation this week because I thought FOTA were going to crumble due to doubt Max had worked into enough FOTA members and that he would get his way. If something didn’t change now then I know I would be spending months again next year following diffuser debacles the FIA didn’t deal with properly, medal systems nobody wanted, shocking inconsistent steward decisions (I will never forget the FIA punishing Bourdais for RACING with Massa after legitimately coming out of the pits in front, it really did beggar belief).
    Next year when a car crosses the line in first place I’ll not have to wonder whether, after the champagne has settled, the FIA will decide to change the result. It sounds great to me just writing this. There is now solid hope for the future.

    Although before I get carried away at the though of a complete overhall, I still think there is a chance of a compromise if something drastic happens with Bernie or Max.

    m0tion – I’ve thought about a FOTA breakaway a lot over the last few months and disagree with every one of your paragraphs. However it’s 3:33, I have to be up in the morning and I don’t think I could change your mind anyway so we can both just agree that we disagree and leave it at that.

    todd – FOTA have said they will get someone else to run it. The FIA is the bad guy but they are also crap at their designated responsibility. Any other big sports governing body would have addressed the diffuser problem before it was a problem, teams were asking for clarity in Jan. Anything would be better than Max’s incompetent governance.

    I would hope the GPDA get a formal say in the new series too. They are another party that have been pushed around by the FIA with no hope of recourse.

    1. There is one thing i wish of the FOTA series, please do not shorten races. It is the one thing i am worried about. Races are too short as it is.

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