More insight into FOTA

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Every F1 team is represented by FOTA
Every F1 team is represented by FOTA

Doctorvee has been extolling the virtues of the Inside Line Podcast so I upgraded it from the ‘stuff I download but never get around to listening to’ (dozens of different shows) to ‘stuff I actually do listen to’ (about three). And I’m glad I did.

A couple of weeks ago we looked at the teams’ efforts to form their own organisation called the Formula One Teams Association. The latest Inside Line Podcast has some interesting background on the discussions from Force India’s director of business affairs Ian Phillips:

Here’s Phillips’ account of why FOTA has been set up:

The teams collectively have been a rudderless and therefore they’ve been pushed around a bit. Principally by the FIA introducing, sort of randomly, new rules, and we find ourselves because of it not operating under the umbrella of a Concorde Agreement*. It’s a situation where really no-one feels very comfortable, we feel vulnerable, to a point of having to spend money unnecessarily, potentially.

And so, with everything that’s been going on within the sport, with the FIA and Mosley and all the rest of it Bernie’s been pushing – for some while now, it has to be said, over a year – for the teams to get together as one and re-create the old FOCA**, if you like, and finally, finally, finally, it came to pass on Tuesday of this week.

They all met down at the romantic setting of Maranello which tends to melt a few hearts and get people thinking as one and not thiking about their own personal positions. The Formula One Teams Association was born under the presidency of Luca di Montezemolo of Ferrari so that we can negotiate together the technical regulations for future.

This was brought about by a letter from Max Mosley to the teams in the week of the British Grand Prix which stated rather boldly that F1 at present is unsustainable and if teams didn’t do sometihng about writing regs he, Max Mosley, was going to. That pur fear of God up everybody – as it was meant to do. As 10 individuals there was not a chance so Bernie orchestrated the creation of FOTA and hopefully they’ll get their heads down over the next six to eight weeks.

It can only be for good of F1 that’s for sure.

To hear the interview in full download the Hungarian Grand Prix edition of the Inside Line Podcast and fast-forward to the 26 minute mark. Phillips also talks about how the teams view the question of Mosley’s suitability to run the FIA given the recent scandal and the threat of a recession.

What I thought was especially interesting to hear was how long Bernie Ecclestone has been pushing the teams to form their own group. So what’s his interest in having the teams represent themselves more effectively?

I wrote a long post looking at the formation of FOTA here: Why have the teams formed their own group and what does it mean for F1?

*The commercial agreement by which F1 has been run
**Formula One Constructors’ Association

PS. There’s also an iTunes link for the Inside Line Podcast in case you need that.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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8 comments on “More insight into FOTA”

  1. I’m very glad that the teams have done this. Mad Max has been abusive for way too long, and the last thing that is needed is for his unworldly ego to take on full dictatorial powers over the teams. The 2009 technical regulations are a terrific example of the threat that the teams find themselves in. They’ve had four seasons now under basically one regime with technical regulations and have had time to fully adjust, and now Max has saddled all of the teams with a massive new cost to adjust to new aerodynamic regulations. Introducing KERS and slick tires is fine, and the adjustments to these won’t be too painful for the teams. (Tires aren’t much of an adjustment, and the mandate for KERS is being phased in over four seasons) But now the teams have to spend millions testing new radically new aero packages while they’re pushing themselves to compete this year.

    Max Mosley was valuable to the sport in pushing for new safety innovations. Aside from this, he has been a horrible FIA chief and is a tremendously corrupt and despicable human being. A perfect example of his shenanigans is his handling of the spy rows: he threw the book at McLaren while letting Renault get away clean for doing the same thing to McLarne. While I don’t care what he does in his private life, I’m disappointed that his scandal didn’t bring him down from his position.

  2. michael counsell
    12th August 2008, 18:49

    If teams organise together they can find common ground to move the sport forward. Or every meeting turns into a huge argument.

  3. I agree with Paige on this, although it’s potentially to early to call it on how effective kers will be, and how expensive.

    Max has put himself in an untenable position- he can’t publically call Ferrari ‘the most important team in F1 and then oversee the rulings about the spy rows without his judgent being called into question.
    (This also calls into question the buisness dealings between Bernie and Flavio)

    Calling Jackie Stewart a certifiable halfwit had the F1 fraternity holding their heads in their hands!

  4. I’ve listen to the Inside Line for the last year or so and have loved it. It is usually the third race podcast I listen to behind Sidepodcast and Checkered Flag Podcast. The only thing that worries me is that Ian Phillips might run out of excuses and ways to say “we suck” by the end of the season.

    If anything Force India should be commended for letting Ian to do this and for the way they treat new media. It really is a breath of fresh air.

    BTW Keith: Just wondering, what are the three podcasts you listen to regularly?

  5. berni,

    there’s absolutely no question in my mind that any claims of impartiality on the parts of the leadership of the FIA and Formula One (in other words, Max and Bernie) are complete and utter rubbish, for reasons that you state.

  6. i was under the impression that Bernie co-owned Renault with Flavio so maybe that is why he wants a push for FOTA.

  7. What is worrying is that in the original announcement I saw about FOTA is that both Max and Bernie were in at the creation of the group. So its come under their jurisdiction right from the start and isn’t really that ‘independant’.
    I know there has to be a certain amount of working together between the different organisations involved in the sport to make the whole thing possible, and it is what we fans do like to see.
    But is FOTA, under Ferrari leadership especially, just going to become another puppy-dog for Bernie and Max to play with? I can see Teams being excluded from racing if they don’t join FOTA, and any problems with any new rules being blamed squarely on the new group.
    And since Bernie has been pushing for something to bolster his appeal with CVC, and to show that he is still friendly with Max, hasn’t this come at just the right time?
    I wonder if the Drivers are now going to have to regroup again, with Bernie’s support of course….

  8. Dan – Actually it’s four, same three as you plus Mark Kermode’s film reviews

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