Ferrari confirms departure from FOTA

2011 F1 season

Felipe Massa, Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Shanghai, 2011

Felipe Massa, Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Shanghai, 2011

Ferrari has confirmed it has left the Formula 1 Teams’ Association.

With Red Bull also rumoured to be leaving and HRT having departed in January, it potentially leaves the teams’ organisation representing just nine of the 12 outfits in F1.

Ferrari said “FOTA?s drive has run its course”. It claimed it would continue to try to make the Resource Restriction Agreement “more effective and efficient” but added: “We must return to a situation where Formula 1 is really a test bed for advanced technological research, the results of which can be transferred to Granturismo cars.”

Ferrari issued the following statement: “Ferrari has informed FOTA President Martin Whitmarsh that it is leaving the organisation made up of the teams competing in the Formula 1 World Championship.

“It was a difficult decision and a great deal of thought went into it. It was taken reluctantly after analysing the current situation and the stalemate when it came to debate on some issues that were at the core of why the association was formed, indeed with Ferrari and Luca di Montezemolo as the main instigator and promoter of ideas. It?s not by chance that the President of the Maranello company held that same position and job title within FOTA up to the end of 2009.

“Some of the major achievements of the association during these years, also worked out in conjunction with the FIA, centred around cost reduction, which was of significant benefit to everyone, the big teams and the small ones.

“Ferrari was on the front line in this area, even before the birth of FOTA and it intends to continue down this route to ensure the sustainability of the sport in the long term. Now however, it is necessary to find some new impetus to move it along because FOTA?s drive has run its course, despite the excellent work of current President, Martin Whitmarsh in trying to reach agreement between the various positions for the common good.

“Ferrari will continue to work with the other teams to make the current RRA, Resource Restriction Agreement, aimed at controlling costs, more effective and efficient, modifying it to make it more stringent in key areas such as aerodynamics, to rebalance some aspects such as testing and to expand it to areas currently not covered such as engines.

“Formula 1, like the rest of the world in fact, is currently going through a delicate period. Ferrari wants to work with all parties for the future of a sport that expresses the highest level of motor sport technology.

“We must return to a situation where Formula 1 is really a test bed for advanced technological research, the results of which can be transferred to Granturismo cars. In addition, we must not forget that this sport must become more user friendly and more accessible to the general public and furthermore, it cannot be the only professional sport where it is practically impossible to do any training: the number of days of testing must be increased so that the drivers, especially the young ones who lack experience and the teams, can be adequately prepared, as well as providing more opportunities for them to come into contact with spectators and sponsors.”

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147 comments on Ferrari confirms departure from FOTA

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  1. Eggry (@eggry) said on 2nd December 2011, 14:28

    What the hell is going on? and is really Red Bull either?

  2. Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 2nd December 2011, 14:28

    ooooooooooh, here we go again!.

    It’ll make an interesting winter…

  3. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 2nd December 2011, 14:31

    I had to laugh at this in Ferrari’s statement:

    this sport must become more user friendly and more accessible to the general public

    This from the only team that is too scared to allow its drivers on Twitter.

    • There are lot of general public people outside twitter..(also i am not sure whether ferrari is really stopping their drivers from twitter) probably ferrari meant cheaper tickets at race circuits & trying to get fans more close to cars & f1 people.

    • Eggry (@eggry) said on 2nd December 2011, 14:55

      Maybe Prost made Ferrari fears their driver’s opinion I guess :D

    • TheBrav3 said on 2nd December 2011, 15:25

      Keith what is the worst case scenario? if fota breaks down no concord agreement reached by march. What happens then? they race 2012 under the old agreement or?

      • Mike (@mike) said on 2nd December 2011, 15:48

        Last time something like this happened they reverted to the 1998 concord agreement I think.

        However, this sounds more serious.

        • Mike (@mike) said on 2nd December 2011, 16:19

          Reportedly, Red Bull have indeed left as well.

          • TheBrav3 said on 2nd December 2011, 16:30

            Much more serious by the sounds of it. I reckon a large part of this is mercedes having 5 technical cheifs. The moment that was announced both redbull and ferrari got pretty snotty about it. I don’t see anything wrong with that, ferrari probably spends close to half a billion per year. Redbull at least 200 million so i don’t see anything wrong with having more tech staff at merc. Considering they are probably the “cheapest” run big team if that is the case then some other teams really need to grow up.

    • alexf1man (@alexf1man) said on 2nd December 2011, 15:46

      Great point Keith, I asked InsideFerrari a week or two ago about Twitter and they said no, so this very much contradicts the “public accessibility” of F1.

    • infy (@infy) said on 2nd December 2011, 15:52

      Keith you have it the wrong way around. The other teams FORCE their drivers to use Twitter. Ferrari dont.

    • Mike (@mike) said on 2nd December 2011, 16:04

      I think it’s safe to say, Ferrari is looking after Ferrari.

    • What if the drivers just dont want to be on twitter. I remember alonso saying in an interview this year that he doesnt want twitter because if he wants to contact anybody or his friends he can jus give them a call. Im sure others have read this and if so maybe they know the source. Not sure about massa but i know for sure that alonso prefers the quite more private life.

      • lopes (@lopes) said on 2nd December 2011, 17:06

        Well, I’m sure he wouldn’t say “I don’t use Twitter because my bosses don’t allow me to”. So I wouldn’t take his statement as necessarily true.

        • DVC (@dvc) said on 2nd December 2011, 22:43

          So, you’d take his statement as probably a lie then? Great attitude.

          • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 2nd December 2011, 23:14

            @dvc

            Why? It’s not as if the two are mutually exclusive.

          • DVC (@dvc) said on 2nd December 2011, 23:24

            @Keith Collantine: I just think it is poor form to assume that someone is lying without hard evidence to the contrary. @lopes indicates that that we shouldn’t take Alonso’s statement at face value. This is against my philosophy unless there is a contradiction between statements, form on behalf of the individual, or evidence that we shouldn’t.

          • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 2nd December 2011, 23:37

            @dvc You don’t seem to have understood my point.

            Ferrari don’t let Alonso use Twitter. Alonso has said he wouldn’t use Twitter.

            These two facts are not mutually exclusive. Both can be true. Alonso isn’t necessarily lying.

          • DVC (@dvc) said on 2nd December 2011, 23:42

            @Keith Collantine: I understood your point, but you’ve missed mine. I realise that Alonso may not want to use Twitter AND that Ferrari may not want him to use it. My objection was to doles “So I wouldn’t take his statement as necessarily true.” doles is making the case that if Ferrari don’t want its drivers using twitter Alonso is probably making something up to cover for them. I see that as needlessly distrustful.

    • Who said they are scared?Maybe they don’t want to

      And since when does accessible only mean twitter?

    • Fixy (@fixy) said on 2nd December 2011, 16:59

      Vitantonio Liuzzi doesn’t have Twitter either, but I don’t think HRT are forcing him not to. In Italy Twitter is much less popular than in Britain, for example the Rapax and Coloni teams from GP2 aren’t on there either. Ferrari have their Twitter account, and whether Massa and Alonso want to have one can’t be known. Perhaps they are the ones who don’t want one. Anyway I think Ferrari are too obsessed by the fear their drivers might say things against them, when Alonso clearly wouldn’t and neither would Massa as he always obeys.

    • matt88 (@matt88) said on 2nd December 2011, 17:50

      i don’t think it’s so important to have a twitter account, after all. as fixy says, twitter has just a 1000th of facebook’s popularity in Italy (and maybe also in Alonso’s homeland). and traditional media usually pay attention to every rant of Alonso or Massa to get the ‘scoop’.

    • sid_prasher (@) said on 2nd December 2011, 18:53

      Keith twitter account is not that important…they both have their websites and maybe facebook pages.

      Anyways these are controlled by PR teams anyways…

      • AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 2nd December 2011, 20:32

        @sid_prasher Indeed, not having a Twitter account is not the end of the world. However, it’s what it implies that’s important. Social media is huge, really huge. The sport is already miles behind the internet revolution.

        • sid_prasher (@) said on 2nd December 2011, 20:43

          @AndrewTanner: I feel presence on the social media is all a branding exercise.
          The kind of media scrutiny these guys are subjected to, I doubt if they have any chance of being spontaneous on these forums – definitely tough to do on a regular basis.
          Besides maybe they do have facebook pages which is bigger than twitter.
          Of course if these guys had a twitter handle I will subscribe :) but I will read everything they put up there with a lot of skepticism.

          • AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 2nd December 2011, 20:49

            @sid_prasher Oh yea, obviously it’s all about PR. But just because something might have an alternative agenda doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t join it. It’s all about perception. I’d rather Ferrari have some terrible PR from their drivers than nothing at all.

      • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 2nd December 2011, 23:20

        @sid_prasher Having followed all the drivers that are on Twitter for pretty much as long as they’ve been on there it seems to me a minority use third parties to post either some or all of their messages.

        Let’s be clear – I’m not saying Twitter is at the moment a pre-requisite for teams, despite the majority of drivers and all the teams having accounts.

        But when we have one team who have admitted publicly they won’t let their drivers use Twitter and then presume to lecture everyone else on making the sport more accessible, that is a blatant hypocrisy.

        • I have a feeling the statement and particularly the term ‘general public’ has been taken slightly out of context, not completely the fault of the reader, but also the writer. Looking at the bigger picture, in terms of promoting F1 through increased testing (let’s face it, that’s what they’re trying to pull off here), it’s more so potential sponsors that are hurt. I remember watching the Ferrari Shell fuel test with Alonso, and thinking, the testing ban significantly hurts these companies aswell, as they’ve got limited time and resources to work with these big teams and premium technology. So think of it in terms of tyre manufacturing, oil and fuel companies, software development and technology innovation. Meaningless debates about social media aside (Seriously, who gives a flip about Lewis Hamilton’s ‘gangsta’ tweets and reaching out to his homies?), the general public won’t react to F1 if it’s no longer the pinnacle of motoring technology.

        • Why? Ferrari is probably the team that produces the most merchandise and organise/sponsor the most events for the public to attend (ferrari days, ferrari world, ferrari stores and even children summer camps in maranello) of course there is a commercial benefit, it is not charity, but he idea is to make an exclusive brand more accessible. So no twitter is really a detail. They probably want to avoid useless rumors and stories as their team generates a lot of talk and fantasy. Look what happen several times with hamilton and sutil on several occasions when the team PR had to release apologies.

          • @Pi Totally agree with your point. Twitter is definitely just one of those things..but its one of those things that can also cause a lot of unwanted rubbish and rumours etc..look at lewis and all the nonsense that some of his tweets have caused and only for him to retract his statement a short while after probaly due to maccas PR department. (I have sympathy for lewis in this instance because he is an individual and should be able to express himself how ever he feels he should. But due to the fact that every move n thing said by the drivers are monitored by the public at large, these little harmless tweets could potentially cause a lot of negativity) my point is that although twitter might be a lovely way for a fan to get closer to a driver it could also equally as much cause a lot of nonsense, so if the best way of avoiding this nonsense is to stay of twitter so be it.

            With regards to ferrari making f1 more accessible to the public, I think along with red bull they are doing a fantastic job. Here in south africa we have one of ferraris f1 simulators open to the public everyday of the week in umhlanga rocks, aswell as super car days n runs by ferrari and international bank vaults on gp weekends so kids can get more involved in ferrari and f1. 3 years ago I met felipe massa at kylami at a shell ferrari event open to the public. I don’t know about other countries but in south africa more than any other f1 team ferrari goes to the greatest lengths to promote f1.

        • sid_prasher (@) said on 3rd December 2011, 12:23

          Ah, I didn’t realize they have explicitly asked their drivers to stay away from it…weird decision!

  4. wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 2nd December 2011, 14:31

    One great news we had in 2012 ( Kimi) now followed by this disappointing news.They are two of the big teams,if the team among them have trouble then F1 won’t go any far in this world.

  5. Oh no this isn’t great news.. I wonder who will follow in suit if 2 of the major teams are pulling out!! All the news so far was so positive

    • celeste (@celeste) said on 2nd December 2011, 15:56

      Wanna bet on Mercedes or Lotus… Lotus is gonna need xtra money to desing a new car for Kimi, and Mercedes wants to win so they have to spend money.

      Maybe Toro Rosso, following RBR, and with the new sponsor I bet the want to be free to spend more money…

      Bernie most be eating popcorn with Cahmpagne watching all this…

      • TheBrav3 said on 2nd December 2011, 16:35

        unlikely merc will pull out the rra would give them a massive advantage if the other top teams actually followed it.

  6. AdrianMorse (@adrianmorse) said on 2nd December 2011, 14:36

    It’s a pity F1 is such a closed world that even informed fans such as ourselves have no clue what’s going on in these matters (of course, excepting anyone able to shed some light on this). I have listened to Dominicali and Horner in Korea, but it never became clear to me what exactly they wanted that others didn’t.

  7. silencer (@silencer) said on 2nd December 2011, 14:41

    Bernie must be happy with this early Christmas present from Ferrari and Red Bull.

  8. Bernie must be rubbing his hands together with glee. When is the Concorde Agreement up for renewal again? :)

    • Hairs (@hairs) said on 2nd December 2011, 15:12

      A cynic would suggest that Bernie has managed to “entice” them to leave prior to a new agreement, like he did when Ferrari got their “bonus payments” and technical veto before. Hands up who hopes McLaren and Mercedes have a two horse race next year with Ferrari miles behind?

      • infy (@infy) said on 2nd December 2011, 15:55

        Well thats just silly. Who doesnt want Alonso fighting for wins?

        • Why does it have to be Alonso? I don’t care who is fighting for wins as long as it’s more than one driver. Who those two drivers are, it doesn’t matter

      • natkid (@natkid) said on 2nd December 2011, 19:04

        +1, yes I would love to see McLaren and Mercedes in two horse race, with Lotus of Raikkonen getting in the mix at times :D
        would be bad to not seeing Alonso really capable of challenging for wins, but it will good to teach Ferrari and Red Bull a lesson or two for being arrogant

      • Colossal Squid (@colossal-squid) said on 2nd December 2011, 23:56

        We don’t even know a fraction of the full story here, and yet you and @natkid seem to be of the opinion that Ferrari and possibly Red Bull are “arrogant” and should be punished?
        It’s possible that FOTA has actually become a spent force and is incapable of effecting change or progress. This would indeed be sad if it were true, but the EU is currently facing a crisis over its future and that is an organisation far more complex and extensive than FOTA. If it can happen to them, why not FOTA?

        Either way I don’t see your desire to have Ferrari be “miles behind” as anyway logical.

      • CNSZU said on 3rd December 2011, 13:12

        This is really funny. You are hoping they will be miles behind, but will be 2 seconds ahead of everyone next year because they will ignore the RRA.

  9. RedXibi said on 2nd December 2011, 14:54

    Why is Bernie always right? He has predicted that FOTA will not stand that test of time and he seems to be right. Anyway, I agree with what Ferrari said in the last paragraph. Cost cutting measures have made the sport somewhat sterile when it comes to ground breaking technology. However, it has also permitted teams like Sauber, Williams and HRT to remain in the sport.

    That point brings this thought to my mind. Could Ferrari have decided to withdraw from FOTA with the intention intention to increase costs again, forcing teams like Sauber, Lotus, Marussia etc.. to leave from F1? The decreased number of cars would then sweep the way for what they have been pushing for for quite some time: having three cars of the same team. (ie 3 Ferraris, 3 McLarens) I know what I am saying is a form of conspiracy theory, but reading between the lines and putting together what they have been saying these last two years, I am sensing this is what they really want.

    • Eggry (@eggry) said on 2nd December 2011, 15:02

      for sure Ferrari want to make regulations more friendly to them such as more strict aerodynamics(to reduce its importance) and allowing engine development. I don’t know this would increase total cost because I think aerodynamics is one of the most greedy parts of engineering. Engine is also highly depend on money though…

      • Mike (@mike) said on 2nd December 2011, 15:52

        Engined cost a lot. They make aero look like small fry.

        • Eggry (@eggry) said on 2nd December 2011, 16:11

          Engine cost can be restricted easily than aerodynamics because it has far less factors.

          • Mike (@mike) said on 2nd December 2011, 18:31

            Which is the opposite of what Ferrari wants?

            We are going in circles.

          • Eggry (@eggry) said on 3rd December 2011, 5:27

            I mean aerodynamics is still very expensive even if there are much heavier restriction than now while engine expense is easily controlled.

            One of main problems of today’s F1 budget is there’s virtually no alternative to aerodynamics because engine development which is only rival to aerodynamics is forbidden.

            of course I think Ferrari want unlimited development of engine but Ferrari would prefer restricted engine(not frozen like now) rather than restricted aerodynamics. That’s what I’m talking about.

    • icemangrins (@icemangrins) said on 2nd December 2011, 15:45

      Well, you are absolutely right. They signed Fernando Alonso till 2016 and perhaps, this is a culmination of pressure coming in from various directions. They have to deliver a strong racing car. This will seriously negate the reasons why Fernando decided to join Ferrari. Since Schumi burned the bridges with Luca Di Montezemolo, they are all pretty pumped to topple his record wins. Under the current agreement, they won’t be in a position to consistently deliver championship winning car 4 or 5 years in a row.

      Also, Luca Di Montezemolo is known for issuing threats and making bold statements. I guess they timed this announcement well. If FOTA agrees to initiate a new discussion over the winter, Ferrari will request increased spending every year, so that they can achieve greater efficiency in terms of R&D and funnel innovations to their road cars. Good examples of this innovation are Ferrari ENZO and FXX. Back in the 2000’s, they spent close to $150M every year for their F1 project and they got back everything in the form of prize money & sponsorship.

    • celeste (@celeste) said on 2nd December 2011, 16:07

      Why is Bernie always right?

      There is a say in my country that goes: “Más sabe el diablo por viejo que por diablo” that means that Bernie has been around enough to know how things are gonna develop

    • natkid (@natkid) said on 2nd December 2011, 19:08

      Berny isnt right.. I wouldn’t call his words as prediction, but rather HIM SAYING WHAT HE WANTS TO SEE HAPPEN and then (I believe) he use his underhand tactics to make it happen

  10. I don’t think I understand what this actually means.

    2 teams have left a collaboration of teams that isn’t mandatory to be a part of to compete, so any rules or agreements that the collaboration of teams come up with have no weight behind them.

    Kinda amounts to not very much.

    • Journeyer (@journeyer) said on 2nd December 2011, 16:33

      It amounts to a lot. FOTA was created to force Bernie to talk to teams as a single cohesive unit. He would’ve needed to make a deal that would make ALL teams happy. Without it, Bernie can make deals with individual teams and force the rest to live with what he gives them or pack up and leave.

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 2nd December 2011, 22:25

        Indeed @journeyer, if FOTA falls apart (it might still be hard balls negotiation by both Ferrari and Red Bull to put weight behind their points in the RRA negotiations), Bernie will have an easy job of giving Ferrari the big stash again, Red Bull a nice amount and have the others scrambling for the rest of the spill.

        I guess we should keep a close tab on what Williams do, as they would probably be the next to bail out after these two (cash strapped historical name who is has done things “differently” in the past as well, see discussions on KERS in 2010).

        • Well, there’s a nice rosey future for F1. I hope the Ferrari and Red Bull fans enjoy watching a field of 6 cars (3 of each) racing around Asian oil fields.

          I’ll go watch a cheaper, more transparent and more interesting form of Motorsport.

          • BasCB (@bascb) said on 3rd December 2011, 18:35

            and the real racing might even be shown on a FTA channel, or stream on the internet to get to the audience!

    • Steve2 said on 2nd December 2011, 16:37

      “…..so any rules …..have no weight behind them.”

      Exactly, they are not bound by FOTA agreements. Kinda amounts to a lot.

    • John H (@john-h) said on 2nd December 2011, 18:36

      I wouldn’t underestimate the role that FOTA played when they proposed a split from the FIA to form their own series in 2009.

      Ok it didn’t happen but it certainly helped to have one voice from which to conduct in debate, even if there were nothing binding any agreement. Pressure of the group can sometimes be quite powerful.

      This most certainly means that situations where one team act to the detriment of all others (eg. the Monaco HRT off-throttle blown diffuser appeal) are more likely to occur.

  11. Tifoso1989 (@tifoso1989) said on 2nd December 2011, 15:00

    Fota Finish

  12. KaIIe (@kaiie) said on 2nd December 2011, 15:28

    Bernie must be rubbing his hands, two of the top teams leaving FOTA means he doesn’t have to deal with all those pesky teams at the same time.

  13. rdpunk (@) said on 2nd December 2011, 15:43

    So does this mean that Ferrari are allowed to spend how much they like or is there another contract that says they cannot? I find it shocking that Ferrari have to always push to get there way, granted they have reasons but many teams might want what they want but still carry on with the group? The sport has become mundane because of cutting costs and therefore making sacrifices about costs but in this economic climate, you cannot have two teams that have a bottomless pit of money whilst teams will have to sell there drivers as male prostitutes just to get some fuel for the race.

  14. celeste (@celeste) said on 2nd December 2011, 16:08

    Red Bull Racing also confirms FOTA exit

    Red Bull’s confirmation comes moments after Ferrari had also said it was leaving the teams’ organisation.

    “Red Bull Racing can confirm it has served notice to withdraw from FOTA (Formula One Teams’ Association),” said Red Bull in a statement.

    “The team will remain committed to finding a solution regarding cost saving in Formula 1.”

  15. vho (@) said on 2nd December 2011, 16:11

    I guess Ferrari have run out of ideas on how to beat Red Bull and McLaren – so it’s back to the “throw more money at it” scenario – not that I’m saying RB and McLaren won’t do the same, but it seems playing fair is no longer what Ferrari believes in – but then, what am I thinking to believe that Ferrari wanted to play fair in the first place!?

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