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

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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 said on 19th June 2009, 2:19

    Woooo hooooo NO more bernie and max da whippy mosley!

    FOTA good luck! i’ll be watching!

  3. HKat said on 19th June 2009, 2:23

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

    • Rikadyn said on 19th June 2009, 5:17

      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.

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

        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 :)

    • scunnyman said on 19th June 2009, 7:06

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

    • mikey said on 19th June 2009, 23:21

      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. rfs said on 19th June 2009, 2:36

    Oh snap!

  5. Loki said on 19th June 2009, 2:36

    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.

  6. JHunt said on 19th June 2009, 2:48

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

  7. Maurice Henry said on 19th June 2009, 2:49

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

  8. m0tion said on 19th June 2009, 3:00

    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.

    • todd said on 19th June 2009, 3:33

      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.

      • Navs said on 19th June 2009, 5:07

        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.

    • Gman said on 19th June 2009, 6:16

      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.

      • Wyzzard said on 19th June 2009, 8:38

        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.

    • scunnyman said on 19th June 2009, 7:17

      So m0tion, what is your solution?

      • m0tion said on 19th June 2009, 12:00

        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.

        • Oliver said on 19th June 2009, 14:48

          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.

  9. nopk said on 19th June 2009, 3:07

    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.

  10. Sei said on 19th June 2009, 3:10

    Three words,

    frustration of contract.

  11. Abe Froman said on 19th June 2009, 3:13

    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

    • F1Yankee said on 19th June 2009, 3:25

      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!

  12. Steve K said on 19th June 2009, 3:17

    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?

  13. snoopy said on 19th June 2009, 3:23

    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.

  14. wasiF1 said on 19th June 2009, 3:28

    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

    • Wyzzard said on 19th June 2009, 8:45

      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.

  15. todd said on 19th June 2009, 3:38

    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.

    • jinthehouse said on 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.

    • F1 Outsider said on 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.

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