Is the FIA to blame for teams leaving?

Posted on Author Keith Collantine

Ferrari believe FIA politics caused Toyota to quit
Ferrari believe FIA politics caused Toyota to quit

As the F1 world waits to learn whether Renault will join Toyota in quitting the sport, the finger-pointing for the manufacturers’ exodus has already begun.

The FIA reacted to Toyota’s decision by claiming it could have been avoided if Max Mosley’s budget cap had been introduced.

Meanwhile Ferrari blamed “those who managed Formula 1 over the past few years” – Max Mosley & co. in other words – for driving major car manufacturers out of the sport. So who’s right?

Defeated FIA president candidate Ari Vatanen chimed in with Ferrari when he gave this interview to CNN following Toyota’s departure:

The FIA’s view is that Mosley saw it all coming and tried to stop it with his budget cap regulations.

In all probablity, neither version of events is entirely accurate. Mosley was correct when he pointed out the manufacturers’ allegiance to F1 would prove to be fickle. But that didn’t stop him cosying up to them in the first place.

Plenty of opportunities to cut costs were missed and several teams that might have been kept going were driven out of the sport. In 2005 all the teams bar Ferrari were united on the need to cut testing, but Mosley did nothing.

That reminds us how quick Ferrari have been to turn on the FIA now the two do not have compatible aims. Rather like their harsh criticism of Williams earlier this year, there’s something decidedly odd about Ferrari’s now-infamous “Agatha Christie” press release:

It could be seen as a parody of ??Ten Little Indians,?? the detective novel by Agatha Christie, first published in England back in 1939, but the reality is much more serious. Formula 1 continues to lose major players: in the past twelve months, Honda, BMW, Bridgestone and, only this morning, Toyota, have announced they are leaving the sport. […]

The reality is that this gradual defection from the F1 fold has more to do with a war waged against the major car manufacturers by those who managed Formula 1 over the past few years, than the result of any economic crisis.

In Christie?s work of fiction, the guilty party was only uncovered when all the other characters died, one after the other. Do we want to wait for this to happen or do we want to pen a different ending to the book on Formula 1?

Back when Ferrari and the FIA enjoyed a more harmonious relationship, the man in charge of the Scuderia was Jean Todt. But don’t expect the two to start getting along again just because he’s now president of the FIA.

Ferrari and the FIA are still dead set against each other and more battles could lie ahead.

Who do you think is to blame for the manufacturers quitting F1? Was the economic downturn always going to drive Honda, BMW and Toyota away? Have your say in the comments.

F1 teams quitting

72 comments on “Is the FIA to blame for teams leaving?”

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  1. I think it all has to do with the teams quitting. First there’s an economic crisis going on so car manufacturers need to save some money and quitting formula 1 is a huge save. Second Ferrari is definetly right about the FIA as well. The way they have been running things in the past few years is simply inconsistent and awfull (however the party that benefitted most from that is Ferrari). But I do think the ecomonic crisis is probably the main factor.

  2. If a manufacturer is not successful for several years then they will probably not want to stick around running at the back of the grid even with a budget cap.

    But also if a manufacturer achieves its aims this can be a grounds for them to quit the sport, the thinking being that they have done what they set out to do and so there is no reason to continue. One of the reasons I remember being put forward for why Alonso signed with McLaren when he was winning Championships with Renault was because Renault’s long term future in the sport was not guaranteed.

    Also we have seen manufacturers quit as engine suppliers while they have been at the top, such as Honda with McLaren (granted 1992 wasn’t a great season for them), or Renault with Williams in 1997.

    The recession has also played a part in manufacturers leaving, even if they could justify the cost of their F1 program in terms of advertising and R&D, there would be pressure to cut spending on something such as motorsport especially F1 with it’s glamorous and multi-million pound image.

    The FIA isn’t blameless either, it wasn’t that long ago that Mosley favoured the manufactures over the privateers, and I don’t think the way the sport has been run in recent times have helped matters either.

    Then there is Ecclestone, if the reason a manufacturer is in F1 is to sell cars, not having a Grand Prix in one of their biggest markets, North America and specifically the US, won’t help when deciding the future of their F1 team.

  3. Mosley was correct in saying that costs were too high and also correct in saying that manufacturers would not stay loyal to the sport.

    However, as always with Mosley he says whatever he has to to get what he really wants. FOTA had created a strong union between the teams and was lead by the factory outfits. the were threatening Max and Bernie’s control so they tried to split them . This didn’t work and so now they have tried to eliminate them one by one. Pulling the rug out from under FOTA’s feet.

    Classic Max, and absolutely nothing to do with anything other than consolidating his position. Happily, this time it didn’t work!

  4. Honda, BMW, Toyota, Mercedes and Renault/Nissan are all Global car Manufacturers and invest in F1 for Brand exposure, their Major market is the USA but there is no US Grand Prix.
    We have endured a year of politics in F1 and not much promotion of what is important to global brand manufacturers, no wonder they are leaving, they can get better exposure by investing in other forms of motor sport.

  5. I’ve always had this hunch on the real reason why manufacturer teams pull out of F1. I think they didn’t really pull out on budget problems, I mean these manufacturers are huge.
    I think that the reason they pulled out is because they’re not sure of their F1 team’s results or competitiveness, and that they prefer to wait-and-see on future developments. Maybe they’ll come back to F1?
    Once again, its just a hunch…

  6. Hindsight is a wonderfull thing….

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