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. Eduardo Gigante
    19th June 2009, 4:21

    Surveying this wreckage, one wonders how Mosley survived for so long in this business. He is a completly aloof from reality and should resign. He can even do this gracefully, admit that the sex scandals and the tragic death of his son have caused him to re-evaluate his priorities etc. (which I suspect is the case).

    This is awful. The legacy of the sport is forever tarnished, even if one day Formula One returns with all the teams. IRL was never the same, even after the return in early 2000. People only watch it because of the Indianapolis 500.

    Quick question; Will there still be a British GP tomorrow? It may be stupid to ask, but at this point I believe anything is possible.

  2. Well that sucks. No more melb GP?

  3. Hopefully someone will have Max Mosley Voodoo dolls for sale at Silverstone…(I was going to say something intelligent, but I’m just so anoyed right now)

  4. To quote Winnie Churchill:
    “Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”

    I am of the belief that the fight has just entered round 2. Does anyone think that FOM will watch their loan collateral walk away and form a competing series? CVC will sidetrack El Supremo for someone who can cut a deal; I also believe they will exert political influence in the right places and force the removal of Mosley. Those are the two ultimate goals of FOTA.

    They have a few more weeks to achieve the deal they want and stay within the existing FIA structure. But once FOTA start signing new tracks, sponsors, and TV broadcast rights it may be too late.

    What a god awful interesting time this will be!

  5. what’s to stop current F1 circuits also host the new series(GP1 I suppose)?

    1. Does anyone know for sure, who own the rights to the names used in F1

      such as:-

      FORMULA 1

      1. I belive FOM bought the rights for first 3 on your list for a 100 years and grand prix is owned by FIA.

      2. my understanding of the facts:

        the term “formula one” is owned by the FIA, which has been leased to FOM/CVC for a paltry $250M for 99 years.

        the term “grand prix” is, of course, french for “big prize”. grand prix motor races pre-date F1 by at least 40 years, and have included air races as well. the term may be much older than the automobile. general motors does not pay anyone to name their car “pontiac grand prix”, nor does IRL pay to hold the “grand prix of sonoma”.

        the official names of F1 races (“2009 Formula 1 Santander British Grand Prix”) are registered trademarks of FOM. whether or not someone else can call their race “the XXX British Grand Prix” is unclear, and sure to be contested by bernie.

        1. while i’m at it, other naming abominations include:
          chevrolet monte carlo
          dodge daytona
          pontiac le mans, which would evolve into the equally sinful pontiac gto

        2. I know Bernie said that if they make the split they wouldn’t be allowed to call itself F1 or World Championship or use the term Grand Prix – it probably has to do with the fact that national automotive alliances are the ones who are giving permissions to use the term ”Grand Prix of *countryname*”

  6. So what happens with the remainder of 09? Does everyone just half ass it through the rest of this season? Stop development and so forth and focus on 2010? What will this weekends race be like? Wouldn’t it be cool if all 16 cars from these teams ran the first lap and the pitted for the remainder of the race… That’d send a message.

    1. You may see the teams not put too much effort into upgrades and the like but the drivers are racers at heart (well most of them) and will not half ass anything.

    2. No, it wouldn’t be cool at all. Doesn’t matter which way you look at it. I hope everyone concerned just continues this season like before.

      It must be pretty bad for employees at the Works shops, there’s so much uncertainty around their future.

    3. Max should resign now!!!
      19th June 2009, 7:51

      That would be so cool!!! I would leave Brawn GP and Red Bull to race for the championship though so at least you would have 8 cars (counting Force India and Williams ), but yeah it would be amazing seeing all those cars just poing back to the pits after one lap.

      1. The way that Brawn are going, I don’t think too many of the teams were seriously going to invest too much more time and money into ’09 anyway!

  7. Hammomoriah
    19th June 2009, 5:15

    Massive kudos to FOTA, get the sport out of the grasping, greedy, meddling hands of the FIA and CVC.

    I hope they stay united and focused, bury the past, look to the future and rebuild the sport from the ground up, the fans are behind you, succeed and prosper.

  8. Prisoner Monkeys
    19th June 2009, 5:35

    This is not the victory you all claim it to be. FOTA are equally culpable in bringing the sport to an end as the FIA are. CART and IRL are a shining example of what not to do, and Formula One went ahead and did it anyway.

    You are celebrating when you should be weeping. I know I am.

    1. You’ve got a point, but there are some major differences between this and the IRL/CART split.

      For one, if this plays out as it appears, we’ll have almost all the historic and popular names oboard- the names and drivers that fans pay to see. We’d also have a diverse international calendar with races in both new and traditional markets. the FIA-administered F1 would be left with next to nothing, except races in the Middle East and Spain….

      The IndyCar fiasco dealt with a sport that was centered on the U.S. and Canada, and one that had one main event (the Indy 500) that was central to it’s planning. The FOTA deal is on a much bigger scale, and I would bet that it’s going to be far more successful if it indeed did go ahead.

      1. One thing i’d like to know is the drivers need a superlicence to drive in F1. Will this still be needed for any other series FOTA come along with, and if so will the FIA be willing to give them out to the drivers? Especially if the new series is not overseen by FIA.

        Like it ever would be lol

        1. Maurice Henry
          19th June 2009, 10:15

          If it’s not an FIA sanctioned series I wouldn’t have thought they have any power to stop someone racing in FOTA F1. As for the standard of driver, they will still compete in other series to upgrade their FIA licence as they come through the international ranks.

          In reality they have no binding hold over anything.

    2. I agree with you PM, this is really bad – sure, FOMA racing series looks good on paper now but I have a feeling we will get a new Max (Luca di Montezemolo maybe) and maybe the teams will invite Bernie over to help them secure the tv deals.
      The real question is how the teams will cope with the increased spending they will have to do (paying for their own fees to flight cars and personnel; upgraded development cost).

      I still hope we will see a 5 to 12 agreement not to go on with this. Personally, while there are some ideas that are sound by the FOTA, there are some idealistic which I doubt will work out good. Sure, you can declare you will have a transparent governance but don’t forget the team calling the shots around here are Ferrari – the team who took 100 million more then anybody else and had an unfair advantage in the form of the technical veto for the last 10 years (and they won 7 constructor championships since then). When it comes down to competing I don’t see all the teams won’t resort to low shots.

      Also, I think even more then most of the fans here gloating are the lawyers – the legal battles that are about to start will give them a fortune in lawyer fees…

      The sponsors are not as enthusiastic about the new series too I bet – they are paying and they want to have a certain assurances. So far, the new series has 8 teams, a press release and a promise of a change – not really attractive for a new sponsor to come aboard for sure.

      There is very little time to set up a series left and in current economic climate I don’t know will the teams get support from their upper management should the cost climb up instead of down…

  9. So what happens with the remainder of 09? Does everyone just half ass it through the rest of this season?

    No, they race harder than ever! What better way to promote the new series by showcasing FOTA teams at Bernie and Max’s expense??? Market market, market. What can Bernie and Max do, toss them out now?

    And how cool would it be if the recently snubbed teams like Prodrive, Lola, and N Technology signed up with the rebels? That would be 11 teams and 22 real cars.

    1. If these teams are smart, they’ll let Williams and Force India back in and snag USF1 away from the FIA. That would fill up the grid quite nicely, and leave Bernie/Max grasping for air……

      1. They only suspended Williams and ForceIndia. The actions of these two teams emboldened Mosley into taking his stupid decisions.

  10. Maybe we can have a Canadian GP next year after all!

  11. And with most teams being of European origin, we’re more likely to see “local” races to minimize transport costs: Bring on the classic tracks!

  12. I reckon Bernie will follow FOTA to be honest. He bought the commercial rights to F1, doesn’t mean he can’t buy the rights with FOTA (at FOTAs rates of course).

    But to be honest, am I the only one here who thinks this is a REALLY BAD THING? Do you really think FOTA are going to be “amazing” at governing? You don’t think petty differences between teams is going to manifest itself in the running of the championship?

    FOTA are no heroes. They’re one of the sides in a war that nobody who has any sense should want, of which both are comitting stupid acts.

    1. I’m with you in this one – there are no winners in this struggle and especially not the fans…

  13. F1 started in Silverstone and now 60 years later it ends ar Silverstone,

    A tip of advise for the FOTA : the first race in the new class perhaps at Silverstone ?

    Another two circuits who i liked to see : Imola and Zandvoort.

    1. Ironic, but perhaps true…

      As for the first race being at Silverstone, I have not been to Britian in person, but perhaps it may be too cold early in the season to host the first race?

      But in any event, here’s hoping it is included on the calendar of any new series that emerges…and the British fans get to enjoy a home GP for many, MANY more years!

      1. Hey Gman you’re right. The last time Silverstone was used early in the season (april i believe) it was disaster.


        Races have to be held at the right time the year to allow for local weather conditions.

        So my vote for season opener is PHOENIX.

        Anyone guess why???

        Not you Gman or persempre you already know lol

        1. You are from Phoenix? Either that or the fact that was the hottest F1 race EVER with half the grid dehydrating…

          1. well i now live in Phoenix. Originally from uk.

  14. So much to think about with this, I don’t know where to start. I really hoped things would not come to this, and perhaps it still may be a ploy to get Bernie/Max eithger out of the sport, or at least on more reasonable terms. But if it happens, it could be a very good deal….

    Forgive me for being selfish, but my first thought gose to USF1. If the FOTA series is the real deal, I hope like hell they they get out of the FIA deal and join FOTA right now. If they get stuck with the FIA in the event of a breakup, the team will be in a very poor position to attract anything. So here’s hoping USF1 is racing with the current elite teams next year, either in the FOTA series or a reformed and reconciled F1.

    But if the new series dose go ahead, and USF1 (hopefully along with Williams and Force India) is a reality in it’s ranks, I’ll be behind it all the way.

    1. Now does anyone have any idea of the agreements taken between the new teams and the FIA?

  15. Had to be done!Now for the real series,Silverstone,Canada,US[INDIE],Argentina,brazil,adelaide,suzuka[the one toyota owns],macua,ahbu dabi,france,spain[they have about 5 f1 ok’d tracks],monaco,spa,austria,germany,italy[rome/monza]Thats 17 anyone think of more we could set up the series by ourselves help out FOTA.

  16. Also, about the venues….

    If this works out, it will be the best thing for racing circuits since…..I don’t know what!! The FOTA bunch won’t charge anything like what the FOM prices are, so you’ll see all kinds of tracks on various different continents lining up to be part of the spectacle. We will still see good expansion in the Middle East and Asia, but nations with real motor racing herritage and history, as well as real commercial value to companies involved in the sport, will not be left out!!

    Just think…under a new series, the well-earned right of the British fanbase to enjoy a British GP will NEVER be at risk the way it is now! Races can return to nations where fans will pack the stands- Canada, France, and right here in the United States!! We’ll see old classics with great fans- Argentina, Mexico, South Africa- hopefully return. And places like Austrailia and Germany won’t be under threat they way they are or have recently been.

    All in all, it could be a brave new world :)

    1. This new series needs a good coalition.



      If circuit owners can pay a small, by CVC standards, to host a race then maybe they can make a profit on ticket sales etc. So they’ll be on board
      If enough sponsorship can be found for the races and the series itself then the teams and manufacturers will be happy.

      If the teams were in racing to make money then they are deluded. Of course the knock on effect is to make car sales for the manufacturers. So if they can make money with the series they’ll be happy.

      I’m sure that if FOTA make a go of a new racing series with what they ask for Transparent Governance then it should work.
      The most important thing would be to get a governing body to oversee the series instead of the teams running it.

  17. People have questioned what are the chances of FOTA succeeding. I have no doubt that FOTA world series will eclipse f1 in an instant.
    This whole episode has been about money and power. Now lets look at this properly . F1 teams get only 50% of tv revenue approx $500 million divided amongst 10 teams. Bernie and CVC (which Bernie owns a huge share in keeps the other $500 million. On top of that tracks on average pay $40 million a race. Monaco is $0 and Monza pays bugger all. Over a year say we average on $35 million per track, that $575 million dollars a year just in track fee. In addition to this, another one of Bernie companies owns the track advertising and the paddock club. This is reportedly worth another $600 to $700 million. Then there is all the other bits and pieces, like f1 branding etc. All in all it is reported to be worth around $2.5 billion a year. The teams individually are lucky to see 50 million each.
    Starting a new series will be very simple. There are 100’s of tracks world wide that will host a race for 20million, thats $340 million just in tracks. Tv rights will be huge, not $1 billion as current but at least $500 million, in addition to that we have sponsors and paddock club fee which is worth another $500million. All in all we have a product worth, 1.5billion. All the teams own an even stake and they get 100 million each plus car sponsor ship. 500 million is set aside for running cost (which is huge when generally it is only 15% at most.)
    Sponsors will pay as much as they currently pay and tv networks will jump on the band wagon as quick as they did when the teams were racing under the f1 umbrella. The teams are the ones that make f1 not Bernie, max or CVC.
    The jewel in the crown for FOTA is Monoco. The prince of monoco said he would not host a race without the big teams. There is no contract with Bernie and if FOTA get monoco f1 is dead well and truly.

    1. Indeed, don’t forget Monaco has always been the only GP that can push Bernie around a bit- they are the only ones allowed to keep revenue from trackside adverts, and a local TV company broadcasts the race there each year.

      Here in the USA, the contract between SPEED/FOX and FOM is set to expire at the end of the current season, and no renewal has been signed that I know of. If the FOTA series gose ahead, here’s hoping the SPEED crew gets the broadcast rights :)

    2. http://www.pitpass.com/fes_php/pitpass_news_item.php?fes_art_id=38215

      This is what f1 is losing. FOTA have the upper hand. FIA and Bernie must bend over to there demands

    3. I wish i’d read your post first before i did mine phil c.
      Yours is much better than mine.

  18. There are some headless chickens around here!

    This is just one of the last moves in one big game of chess. It certainly isn’t the end of the game though.

    Not least because if this IS the FOTA position / decision, then it’s not something you announce so late in the evening the day before a deadline, leaving wiggle room on the deadlein day itself.

    What they’ve clearly been angling for for some time now is to make Max’s position untennable. They don’t want to leave F1, they don’t want their own series : they want Max, and Max’s ways, gone.

    It’s all well and good having a new Concorde, but it’s not as though Max suddenly became a cunning old bugger when the 98 Concorde expired. He’s always been a cunning old bugger.

    The really interesting aspect, for me, is the relative silence of CVC / Bernie. CVC are sitting on a mountain fo debt which needs paying through TV rights. No Ferrari, no big money TV rights from F1. What kind of deal will Bernie have (already tried to) set up with FOTA?

    1. And that is what we all probably want too. but it won’t happen with Max around.

  19. Fantastic news and about time too! This sport has turned into a sham over the last few years, although i’m not sure about Brawn being on the list; i think they are a Bernie trojan entity who will derail things from the inside…maybe

    1. You really think that Ross Brawn would be that much of a push-over??

      I couldn’t disagree more.

  20. Yes Yes Yes!! i was waiting for either Max to step down or for the FOTA teams to form their own series. i think the FOTA series will be more successful than the M&B’s version. Bring back old traditional tracks like Hockenheim, Silverstone, Magny Cours, even A1, if possible, and M&B’s F1 is dead meat!! who likes to watch second grade toy cars running around sandy deserts and empty grandstands??

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