Nothing will come of this unless FOTA really starts standing up to the man, a FOTA-FOM war is certainly not what the sport needs right now.
Don’t kid yourself. The name might be Formula One Teams’ Association, but FOTA does not represent the teams. It is and always has been a manufacturer initiative, created for political reasons. Its ringleaders have always been people from manufacturer teams – like Luca di Montezemolo as president and John Howett as second in command – whilst every FOTA meeting has taken place and every important decision has been made on manufacturer territory. Last year, FOTA met on Flavio Briatore’s yacht, and then decided to back out of the championship after a meeting at Renault’s headquarters. FOTA (FOMA might be a more accurate name) has only ever existed to serve the manufacturers’ ends, with the other teams getting pulled into it because if they show disloyalty to one manufacturer, the others may be hesitant about pulling out. FOMA has hardly done anything at all this year, because of the demise of the manufacturer as an entity. Toyota, Honda and BMW have all gone. Renault have undertaken a restructure and are really a privateer team run under a manufacturer banner. And Mercedes are too busy starting up their Formula 1 team and sorting out their problems to be worried about political moves. FOMA represents everything that is wrong with the sport over the past decade: manufacturers taking control of the teams and butting heads with the Powers That Be simply because they don’t like the future plans. The FIA has moved to curtain spending, but the manufacturers know that they more they spend, the facter they will go. They will spend tens of millions of dollars just to pick up a single World Championship sport. The manufacturers have been slowly draining in the life out of the sport for years, in a much more subtle way than the FIA. The real problem is that the fans hate the FIA, therefore they support FOMA, meaning FOMA can do no wrong even though they’re having their own negative effect on the sport.
Or haven’t you noticed how there hasn’t been any politically-motivated bickering this season? The manufacturers have backed out, FOMA’s prominence has faded, and everyone (except Ferrari) is getting along. You might attribute that to Jean Todt’s presence, but any student of business management will tell you that it takes time for changes to be made and fr the effects of those changes to be felt. Todt’s influence is only really beginning to come into effect now. The demise of FOMA has been for the benefit of the sport.