Is the FIA to blame for teams leaving?

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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

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

  1. YES! I totally agree with Ari Vantanen’s recent comments saying that the manufacturers are disallusioned with F1 governence. If F1 was a beacon of good news it would equal good avenues for marketing and promotion. Even in tough times large companies look for positive promotion. F1 has had nothing but conflict, crisis, and court cases for the last two years. Large companies can’t afford that and they are voting with their feet.

  2. What will be the next “lets get Ferrari” topic? This is the pinnacle of motor sport. If you can’t play with the big boys go home as most manufacturers will. F1 has always had teams come and go but saying Ferrari did whatever whenever in not the answer. Any team that has been in the sport as long as them will have changed opinions and direction. Why not have a topic “is there anyone more passionate about F1 than Ferrari?”
    I can’t understand why the comments about Ferrari have been made because of the use of an Agatha Christie novel, however is you look closely at the analogy it is pretty much spot on. Who do we blame when the sport no longer exists? I can understand that most UK fans are at the present only concerned about the British GP and how the sport can’t survive without it. Can anyone see the non British point of pay up ( cheapest contract with CVC by far), sort out the circuit and lets race on what has been one of the key reces of the season?

    1. Can anyone see the non British point of pay up ( cheapest contract with CVC by far), sort out the circuit and lets race on what has been one of the key reces of the season?

      Exactly what I want Rampante! Silverstone have the best deal they are going to get so they should just sign and get on with it. Nothing more can be done.
      With regards to the topic at hand though I think probably it is just because BMW, Toyota and Renault weren’t winning. BMW went awry and I thought they had a fairly regid programme, Toyota were quite useless they could be quick but too inconsistent which meant that it never amounted to anything. A good kick in the right direction could have helped them and Renault have been through a major scandal, have now lost Alonso and are simply a midfield team (they probably will come back at some point but will be starting afresh).
      However, the political instability and tensions will not have convinced any to stay in the sport. To what depths this played a role well I have no clue.
      I would like to add though that it does seem Ferrari and the FIA are quite seperate at the minute which forgetting the implications, gives me a smile as plenty assumed Ferrari would get everything there own way. I love Ferrari but I did not enjoy the way it was just assumed they were the controllers of the FIA now Todt is in power :P

      1. Actually, Monaco has the best deal – they don’t pay a cent…

        1. U said best deal they are going to get:p. Silverstone won’t get anything more than what’s on offer.

          1. I* sorry about that

    2. Mark Hitchcock
      6th November 2009, 23:01

      Can anyone see the non British point of pay up ( cheapest contract with CVC by far), sort out the circuit and lets race on what has been one of the key reces of the season?

      Isn’t the Monaco contract the cheapest (and most profitable) by far?

      How can Silverstone lose millions each year and improve the facilities to Bernie’s standards? Answer: They can’t.

      Bernie is treating Silverstone the same as he treats the government funded circuits and although lots of people on here seem to think that’s the right way for him to go about this…it isn’t! How can he, or we, expect Silverstone to accept his deal when there is nothing in it for them except losses?
      They are a business just as CVC are and getting into a contract where you are guaranteed to lose money no matter what you do makes no sense what so ever! Bernie knows this, Silverstone knows this, we know this. I don’t know how anyone can defend him on this. It’s an incredibly obvious ploy to get rid of Silverstone from the calendar.

      Back on topic, no I don’t think the FIA are really to blame for the teams leaving. They had a role sure, but the main reason is that Honda, Toyota, Renault etc. are losing lots of money in the “economic downturn” and they have been performing badly in F1 so the big-shots in the companies don’t see the sense in wasting millions of dollars on F1 when it could go somewhere more useful.

    3. Well if Silverstone did have the best deal I am sure they would have signed by now considering Monaco don’t pay any fees so I would say that is the best deal.

      But it doesn’t matter how good a deal Silverstone has been offered compared with other circuits, if the numbers don’t add up and it doesn’t make financial sense they shouldn’t sign it, other Grand Prix can only survive because of big government grants which personally I don’t agree with, and I think it shows that the problem is more with the deals Ecclestone offers to the circuits not the circuits themselves.

  3. Much as I don’t want to say it as a Max Mosley hater, I don’t really think the FIA are too much to blame. Virtually every single car company on the planet has been ravaged by the recession, It’s hardly shocking that they should wish to cut costs, and motorsport is the obvious target.

    1. The problem with this line of argument is that Toyota was one of the loudest voices AGAINST the budget cap – so how could that be to blame for them leaving?

      The issue is that the manufacturers are a fickle bunch. They are run by committees made up of very clever, very dull men and women, many of whom dislike motorsport (and it seems in many cases decent cars). If their team soaks up hundreds of millions of dollars/pounds/dong/whatever annually and still doesn’t win whay keep going?

      That explains Toyota going, but BMW? I think they are going due to the failure of the FIA to properly manage the KERS situation and the ‘cheapening’ of the sport by allowing three virtually non-name teams in. BMW have their image to protect after all.

      1. I’m not really blaming Toyota, I think it’s quite reasonable that they should wish to stop wasting money on their F1 team off the back of the worst recession in 80 years, and after posting losses of about $8 billion recently.

        I do however have a problem with the way they have quit. They have shown contempt to their own employees by not warning them they were planning to withdraw, and the fact they have gone back on their word (and their contracts) hardly gives us an image of a trustworthy company.

        1. They have shown contempt to their own employees by not warning them they were planning to withdraw

          But Toyota are paying it’s employees until the end of February, which will hopefully give a lot of them a chance to find suitable emplyment in the meantime.
          Correct me if I’m wrong, but BMW are not providing such a cushion to its employees – indeed, Robert Kubica only found out through the news headlines!

          Of course, in an ideal world all withdrawing teams would do so in the honourable way of Honda, but in the real world of business that’s too much to wish for.

    2. Agree 100%. Toyota is the notable exception, but they are out because they suck. The team was given a clear ultimatum by Toyota management. Win or we quit.

      BMW gave FIA a clear ultimatum, budget cap or we quit. No budget cap and indeed BMW is out. I guess their poor performance this year didn’t help either, but still.

      Renault, Honda and Williams also told the FIA that a budget cap is a must.

      Only Ferrari and Toyota were against the budget cap when it was supposed to be introduced for 2009.

      Oddly enough the budget cap was first set too high and then too low, but it didn’t matter since Ferrari was never going to accept it anyway.

      BTW Ferrari says that there is a plot to purposefully drive out the manufacturers. Vatanen says that the poor image of F1 caused by mismanagement is a factor in teams quitting. That’s not even close to the same thing.

  4. Are they to blame?

    Well they’re certainly NOT an innocent party!

  5. Sorry to double post, but I read this in the Times the other day and it gives an interesting explanation why Japanese companies like Toyota, Honda and Bridgestone are so quick to quit when the going gets tough:

    Toyota’s decision to leave Formula One is a trophy cull for troubled times — a tearful sacrifice of something shiny and expensive-looking to persuade Japan that its biggest company was not taking recession lightly.

    Toyoda has inherited a giant with extraordinary strengths but equally impressive challenges. He may have to sack thousands in a country that has an ideological contempt for capitalism. Toyota, like its local rivals, has left motor sport because it realised that Japan is in no mood to watch their companies enjoying themselves.

  6. that video from CNN with Ari was utterly superfluous, no wonder he isn’t FIA president, that was rubbish.

    Max got his wish, he isn’t that much of a forward thinker, but he got Toyota to leave.

    While we can bang drums all day long about our beloved F1 but the real tragedy is Toyota’s will in creating their F1 team from the ground up to beat Honda… “hey look, we made our own factory instead of buying one out” … the great game of one up manship that crumbles when you let down the fans, but most of all, the workers.

    They came to cologne for work and promises, they left with just a paycheck.

    Thats the real story, we’ve lost a team but what about all those boys and girls losing there jobs, not just clever clogs engies, but catering staff, logistics, even the cleaner.

    Remember them, including Samantha in catering.

  7. hindsight is a wonderful thing……

  8. I really feel for alot of the teams that 2009 was the year many of them had hoped would bring about change, with so much hope pinned on new car design and KERS technology. The KERS program, in my mind, played a massive part in the huge amount of ill feeling we have seen this season.
    If 2009 was about saving costs for the teams, then the disastrous waste of untold millions on KERS certainly cancelled out any cost saving. One could argue that Honda were not duped by the prospects of KERS and all the talk of ‘closer racing’, and left early. For BMW Sauber, KERS pretty much killed off their season before it had begun. The sorry state of affairs compounded by the fact that most teams had ditched KERS long before Abu Dhabi saw its first paying F1 fan.
    Factor in this summer’s FOTA vs FIA ‘war’ if you will, this years scandal of scandals, and some quite disgusting comments by Max Mosley concerning Ferrari and their importance to the sport.
    All the time, with car sales worldwide dropping like a stone, and with billions of dollars invested, teams were yet again being spoken to like unruly school children in an assembly hall. It was as if, on Flavio Briatore’s yacht at Monaco harbour, the worldwide credit crunch was just an illusion, and everything was just fine. Well, in the mind of Max Mosley atleast.
    For anybody with eyes, and who has a ‘real’ job to go to that maybe gone next week, everything was not fine.
    All the scandals, Ferrari/McLaren in 2007, Singapore 2008, have all tarnished F1’s once envied image in a negative way. With the backdrop of a recession not scene in nearly a century, it made the decision to pull out all the more easier.
    The FIA and Ecclestone must realise one important fact. F1 is only the pinnacle of motorsport only as look as it is percieved to be, without distrust and corruption, but with intergrity. As soon as you lose the respect of the masses, you are in trouble.
    As for the car companies, there are plenty other series that they can go to and make a mark. You must ask yourself, what businessman is going to take all that hassle for so little reward?

    1. So you do feel the teams that left were disallusioned by the governence of the sport?

  9. Who’s to blame? The recession, for the need to cut costs and make symbolic gestures (like Ned’s link suggests)? Of course. The lack of results? Well, it’s no coincidence that the three teams who have left have been, with individual exceptions, woeful under-performers in their last year(s) of F1.

    But the FIA must take some of the blame. They were only too happy for the big names to come in and make it a flashy, expensive sport that could boast of spending millions on cutting-edge technology, and when that became unsustainable they did their best to paint them as the bad boys, shifting their fair share of the blame as usual. On top of this, with the FIA becoming ever more dictatorial and meddling in F1, it’s no wonder many chose to up and leave.

    One thing gives me hope; not only has the balance shifted away from pure manufacturer teams like BMW and Toyota to ones like McLaren, who have more of a symbiotic relationship, and the special case of Ferrari, but of the independents it will be figures such as Dietrich Mateschitz and Vijay Mallya (and the other special case of Brawn GP, who will become more like McLaren as McLaren become more like Ferrari) who will lead the way and not obstructionists like Frank Williams. If the FIA thinks it’s going to have an easy ride with the manufacturers going, one look at the teams who threatened to break away and realise not all of their supposed buddies were on their side.

  10. I think as said above, the reason Honda and toyota (and bridgestone) quit, is because the Japanese mentality.
    We europeans can’t understand that very well.

    That’s why I hope Renault will stay.
    As F1 is a great way of marketing and Renault shouldn’t leave after the scandal, they have much to prove now.
    They should take that challenge!

  11. I think the recession and FIA to blame, Both play equal parts.

  12. Unless the Toyota chairman, Mr Toyoda, was lying, which is extremely unlikely, the reason Toyota have left F1 is the need to cut costs. BMW said the same thing and left for the same reason.

    Assuming the FIA are not to responsible for the world recession, it is absolutely ludicrous to blame them for these companies leaving.

    As to Mosley, surely the whole battle in the summer was him trying to cut costs and the Toyota F1 team and Ferrari resisting. If anyone is to blame it is di Montezemolo for not recognising the need to cut back.

  13. In a word…YES.

  14. Toyota have a global advertising budget of 3 billion dollars, if they cut adverts by 10% they could have been in F1 at no cost. Would the car sales have fallen because of this? BMW also spent 8 time on advertising than F1. It is more of wanting to be in it rather than out.

  15. The resaon is simple.They spent millions of dollars on F1 but came up with empty hands for eight years.It shud have created a bad image from comman man’s perspective “Toyota with the motto of innovation cant build a race winning F1 car which is full of technologies”.It is simple .When u boast of innovation u need to prove it some way.Toyota failed miserably.

  16. Mike "the bike" Schumacher
    6th November 2009, 22:28

    Its both of their faults. The teams for not agreeing to budget caping and mosely for caving in on the pressure not to inforce it.
    The teams say they are going to reduce spending to 1990s levels say around 30-60 million, but Ferrari have signed Alonso for 22.5 million.
    The only things that have truly saved money is the testing ban and the reduction of engines.

    1. The driver’s salaries were not supposed to be part of the budget cap and I don’t believe they are part of the teams’ cost cutting agreement. If we are talking driver salaries, then Ferrari are to blame for hiking those up to the insane level, when they took on a certain M Schumacher in 1996 for many times more than any other driver was getting paid, and then continued the pattern with Raikkonen and now Alonso.

  17. I blame it all on team management. Yes there is a base cost to run a F1 team, but none of those teams needed to spend the insane amount of money they did. When Toyota came into the sport the sky was the limit for their budget. Whatever it costs to win it will be available, as oppossed to starting low and maximizing your limited budget, but knowing more funds could be available if absolutely necessary.

    No one forced these teams to spend the amount of money they did

  18. Absolutely the FIA is to blame…they allowed Max Mosley to run the sport into the ground. Constant rule changes, stupid ideas to improve overtaking, can you say narrow track and grooved tires, scandals, vendettas against anyone who stood up to him, can you say Ron Dennis, incredible arrogance, and a deviate personality much like his father. Made Jean Marie Balestre not look so bad.

  19. I blame Max, the FIA and Bernie for a lot of the things that are wrong with F1 but this is not one of them. I agree with Steph90, this is about them not winning. As rampante pointed out, their global advertising budgets are far in excess of their F1 budgets, but losing all the time is not good advertising. Honda, Toyota and BMW thought that throwing the most money at their F1 team would make them winners and be good advertising for their brands, but it didn’t and it wasn’t. Would any of these really have pulled out if they had been reigning WCC? I don’t think so. The recession has provided a convenient excuse for them to withdraw without having to say ‘actually, it is because we weren’t good enough’.

    1. this is about them not winning.

      In every competition there is only ONE winner.

      If you think not winning is the reason for living, there not will be any medium-long term stability for any motor racing series (or any other competition)

      The point should be just the opposite, what should I have to do for being attractive for not winners to stay in a competition.

      When you fail on this, everybody will go out.

      1. I don’t think winning is the reason for living, and the majority of racing teams don’t either – they exist to ‘go racing’ and if they don’t succeed one year they will come back and try again the next year (if they can afford it). Take McLaren and Ferrari in the early 90s, or Williams in recent years. The point was that I believe the manufacturers entered F1 to advertise their brands, and the lack of success these three manufacturers demonstrated (one race win between them) meant that the venture was a failure for them.

      2. In a competition, there are multiple winners

  20. You say Ferrari and the FIA enjoyed a more harmonious relationship then but it wasn’t all honey. The FIA had introduced single lap qualifying and the new points system specifically undermine them.

    Anyone with a bit of sense knows a budget cap in F1 is in all reality unenforceable. I think the FIA is largely to blame. Honda, Toyota, BMW and Renault are guilty of mismanagement to some extent in one way or another but that’s not to say they wouldn’t have stayed had the series not been run in a different way.

  21. Haven’t we all forgotten to invite a certain someone to this party? More than anyone else, hasn’t it been Bernie Ecclestone who has guided F1 into its descent from motorsport into a bloated, over-priced, artificial, and passionless ‘sunday showcase’? For everything that we can throw at Max Mosely, he did try to lower the costs – too drastically, and too despotically, but it was the right idea.

    And the astronomical finances go hand in hand with the technology. I keep saying it, this sport is a victim of its own advances. We’ll see if the refuelling ban will bring back some genuine racing, but as impressive and fascinating as all the technology in those cars is in theory, in practice it translates not into racing cars but into very fast, very sleek, and very fragile lap-time machines. They’re made to go fast, but not to race. No one seems to agree, but if I were making the rules I would tear much of those electronics out of there, and impose materials that withstand light impact better. And I would limit communications between team and driver. I don’t think that racing drivers should have to be told lap in and lap out exactly how they’re doing, to go faster, to go slower… just freakin’ drive man! Racing needs to be put back into the hands of drivers. With all the imperfections that that implies. Anyhoo that’s what I would do if I were in charge. (That’s my periodic and totally unrealistic anti-technology rant)

    I’m convinced that if the sport were just plain more about racing, and just plain more affordable the current crises that ail it would not be around. And as for partitioning blame between the teams and the FIA – well, you need political will for compromises on both sides, and that certainly wasn’t happening when Max Mosely was there, let’s hope that Jean Todt will turn out to steer things in the right direction.

    1. Your analysis is very good. It isnt just Max and the FIA but Bernie and company that have lead to the downfall.
      Someone previous said that BMW and Toyota as well as Honda came into the sport and talk of innovating but couldnt develop a winning car. So after a few years they pack it in. we have seen this of Honda before and for Toyota to do it was no surprise either. When BMW did it I was surprised as I thought they were a company that would prove they could then withdraw to be just an engine supplier. But in reality they are taking the Honda planet green path and have gone home to lick there wounds.
      The removal of refeuling is going to add a new twist to the sport as tey can still come in and perform a tire change but no feul, I like this as it will really seperate the racers from the wanna be’s.
      Todt has his work cut out for him and I hope he gets it right, but I dont hold alot of hope. If Max is allowed to have any influence on the way it is run then the sport is on its way to irrelevence.
      If Todt can get the situation under control and break this rediculous contract with FOM and get racing back to the tracks that made it great then we have a chance for a great new beginning.

  22. Prisoner Monkeys
    6th November 2009, 23:53

    The FIA is not to blame – it’s the manufacturers themselves. I find it pretty telling that teams like Williams have been in the sport for thirty years, while teams like BMW have only lasted three. It’s because Williams is a racing team, and wholly concerned with race. BMW were more interested in developing KERS.

    1. To be fair, before BMW’s four years as an independent team they did spend six years as en engine supplier… to Williams.

      1. Prisoner Monkeys
        7th November 2009, 2:43

        I don’t think tht really counts – Williams were independent. BMW Sauber were an independent team that had been purchased by and reconfigured as a works outfit. Thi whole thing forms the basis of that guest article I sent you … but at 2,000 words, it might be a little long.

    2. Wrong, the FIA is to blame. The constant changing of the rules and the constant attacking certain teams is what lead this to happen. Look at all the time and energy that was spent going after first Mclaren, then Renault. Why would any mfg stay in this enviroment of constant headhunting of any team that dared to oppose any position that the FIA had. The situation you bring out is that a team like Williams is run by 2 or 3 people and they answer to themselves. The want to race and that is what they do. McLaren is the same to a lesser extent. Ferrari is a Mfg who has stayed with it for the entire modern era of the sport thru the good and the bad. BMW, Honda and Toyota are different. The difference is that the BOD of all these teams that quit are part of the time for the racing and then they arent.
      None of the teams were interested in kers until it was forced upon them and when the FIA said it would look at dropping it teams like BMW said no way as they had spent millions developing it.(I would have took the same approach).
      Now the mfg’s arent saints by any stretch but they all want to race in a stable enviroment and that isnt happening right now with the FIA>

      1. Prisoner Monkeys
        7th November 2009, 5:13

        Manufacturers do not exist for the purpose of racing cars. They exist to sell cars. They are the ones responsible for driving costs up. They are the ones who are more interested in brand recognition and marketing opportunities than racing. If the breakaway series had gone ahead, the manufacturers would have run it right into the ground. The President and Vice-President of FOTA represent manufacturers. The meetings they held were conducted on manufacturer territory – they met at Enstone during the British Grand Prix, but the headquarters of Red Bull and Force India are both closer.

        Worse, the manufacturers cause trouble. The sport’s biggest embarrassments and controversies – the Singapore incident, the espionage affair – can be laid at the feet of manufacturer or manufacturer-backed teams. Even Ferrari aren’t absolved; I don’t think there’s been a more polarising team in the sport, what with all the perceived bias towards them. Formula One needs racing teams, not people who are more interested in developing some new toys for their line of road cars. If they want that, go to Le Mans.

        We need less manufacturers, and more racing teams. If it were down to me, I’d sell Toyota to someone like Aguri Suzuki. Renault would be in the hands of Henri Pescarolo or ART Grand Prix. And Toro Rosso – not strictly a manufacturer, but a glorified GP2 team – would be returned to Minardi. Formula One should first and foremost be about racing. Keep the manufacturers on as engine suppliers or whatever, but we don’t need entire teams who have to wait for ther budget to be approved by a boardroom half a world away – and populated by anonymous business-types who have never been to a race in their life – before they can start developing the next season’s car.

        1. Most manufacturers participate in some form of motorsport for historical as well as commercial reasons. The truth is that manufacturers are an integral part of motorsport as a whole including F1, and thus it has always been. Renault have a huge role in FIA licensed events from GP2, to World Series, to Formula Renault. BMW participate in WTCC, DTM, Formula BMW. Honda compete in IRL and Moto GP, Toyota in Nascar. You can’t question their racing pedigree or their commitment to motorsport, Ferrari least of all. How many other teams have gone 21 years without winning a championship and remained in the sport? Answer this and then you start to understand Ferrari’s commitment.

          The reason BMW left was because they were not interested in developing the basic out-dated KERS that the FIA prescribed. They like others thought that F1 should be the technological pinnacle of motorsport not a glorified GP2. Yes Toyota were fundamentally unsuccessful but the same is not true of the others. In their short time on the grid BMW had done reasonably well with some good race performances and strong championship placings. Honda had won a race and finished second in the constructors and may well have won a championship had they stayed in the sport. Renault won four championships.

          Maybe if the FIA and FOG gave the teams a greater share of the massive profits it might help them to cut costs. But I don’t think say Toyota were really that interested in cutting costs, they were more interested in participating in a championship that was regarded as a technological pinnacle, one that had a positive image and a world wide appeal, this can no-longer be said of F1. You can’t blame the manufacturers for scandals caused by corrupt individuals. Skulduggery is rife in F1 just look at the current situation with Force India or the FIA presidential elections. You can’t say it’s confined to manufacturers.

          Currently teams barely design their own cars the rules are so prescriptive and constrictive. Take the manufacturers out of F1 (there are only two left) and you end up with what amounts to little more than GP2 if that. If that was the case I would go and watch the Le Mans series.

  23. The real answer is complicated and the easiest thing is to point finger and say that is the one and only cause. The nature of big manufacturers is to pull out when things get tough, it has happend before and the sport survived it quite all right. One phase of F1 is over, another is starting…

  24. Glad Ari didn’t get the gig he’s totally not on the same skill level as the other players. He just make himself look foolish and like a sore loser, probably should get a strategist or PR person.

  25. While the economy plays a part in this, you have to place blame with the FIA. Costs are coming down in the next 3 years, and as mentioned before, advertising budgets are much larger than motorsport budgets. With the scandals and poor governance, the manufacturers don’t want to bother wasting time. The key, though, is that Honda, BMW, and Toyota all say they are not cutting the motorsport programs in other formula–just F1. Why, when F1 has the most exposure, technology, and recognition? It can only be about the governance.

    1. They pay $400 million to play in F1 and not even $40 million for every other form of motorsport.

  26. I dont understand, people are endlessly bashing manufactures here, saying how much you prefer independent teams etc. why so grim when they finally leave? If FIA caused them to leave, kudos to them right?

  27. Its a bit of both. But I assume that the economic crisis is more at blame than FIA.

    Agreed, Advertising budget is ten times that of the Formula 1 teams. But, advertising brings in certain amount of returns. Whereas a Formula 1 team brings in nothing (Number of wins by BMW, Toyota, Honda = 2 over 11 years of competing together), thus undoing the advertising group’s efforts.

    FIA is also to blame. If only FIA had ensured a race in USA, Canada and France – big markets for manufacturers – these teams might have stayed.
    Money spent in F1 is only the tangible loss, the intangible loss caused to the brand by not winning is significantly higher.

  28. F1 and car manufacturers have to react to the major forces in play that is effecting the world. In particular, peak oil and climate change. The world is looking for answers to these questions and the car manufacturers and F1 was doing “business as usual”. I thought it was interesting the link to former F1 designer, Gordon Murray and his new electric car. He was looking not only at ecological and economical transportation but also how the manufacturing process was carbon responsive. Racing should be a testing bed for new technologies so the companies can promote their leading edge approaches.

  29. wong chin kong
    7th November 2009, 2:59

    Why blame the FIA? The FIA did not force the team to participate the F1 at gun point. It is just that the teams are unable to survive the gruelling conditions in what is in F1 today. As the saying goes, when the going gets tough, only the tough gets going.

  30. I’m afraid to say that most of the reasons for teams quitting is teams theirselves. FIA may probably have done something wrong in the past, but most of the proposals to cut costs were issued by FIA, and refused by teams. I con’t remember a single proposal made by the teams.
    Ferrari has been probably the hardest there: they are opposing to test ban, and during the long Shumacher era they were contrary to all initiatives. I think FIA was too soft there, and accepted Ferrari dominance without any attempt to make formula 1 more spectacular by competition perspective.
    At the end I would say there are two ways to promote Formula 1: one is trying to make it as more uncertain as possible, with easy technical rules, cost limitation, high number of teams involved; the other is make it a “brand” with high cost, big constructors involved only, marketing aspects at the top. FIA and teams had chosen this second option and teams are paying the price.
    Regarding scandals and justice trials…well, it’s not FIA that started cheating, or stealing drawings.

  31. You’d have to be incredibly myopic to pin the blame on anything inside F1 for the current exodus. The enormous recession in the car industry has forced the manufacturer’s hand.

    “It’s the economy, stupid.”

  32. The FIA are not only to blame for the manufactures leaving the sport, they are also to blame for the entrance of the manufactures and therefore also to blame for the cost explosion. In the early 1990s the ultimate manufactures’ championship, the Group C, was killed of to get all the manufactures to enter Formula 1. Bernie Ecclestone made big profits and now Formula 1 is left behind.

  33. For one I’m sad to see the major manufacturers bow out but I think it has been inevitable. Collapsing global sales PLUS a gloomy forecast has placed Toyota, BMW and Renault under greater scrutiny at a board level. If Toyota and BMW had achieved greater success however I think they could have bought more time, but looking at it as investment (especially in Toyota’s case) the withdrawal makes sense. F1’s image has taken a complete battering which hasn’t helped and I can’t see how the racing
    has improved in recent years under Mosley;s reign. Cut costs? Stop changing the rules. Did we need expensive KERS technology??

  34. The losing three had no right to absorbing an existing team. Until their powerplant can demonstrate consistent wins no brand should be allowed to buy in. The remaining three are the only ones who have shown consistent competitiveness. For fiscal protection, that should be a new rule. Ultimately, Bernie needs to get stuffed. How can one man have a lifetime lease of this series? Setting up another Formula is totally viable in this climate. By lowering the circus fee to the venue, we’d see the heritage tracks return and make a profit. As a result, the Brands would line up to participate and demonstrate. Perhaps a stock block formula would encourage the showroom competition. Every brand has at least 3.5 liters of something sitting around. If a ringmaster has no circus what does he then become?

  35. Would like to point out that while Ferrari are a manufacturer in a strict legal sense they are a racing team as they always have been. They operate as an autonomous division of the Fiat group and currently produce more cars now than ever in their history. That figure is 3500 cars per year, what Toyota produce in less than an hour and BMW before lunch every day. Manufacturers wanted to use F1 to sell cars and you need success to do that. Ferrari will always sell cars the same way Bentley do, when did they last win a proper race in a real Bentley? They are still seen as one of the great sporting marques.

    1. Bentley won the 2003 Le Mans.

      I never understood how companies like Toyota and Honda sell cars though F1. Who buys a car because the brand is in F1?

      Mercedes and BMW have some spin offs from their F1 program into their road cars to sort of make it look relevant, but even then I doubt it really helps them sell cars.

      I’d say that Honda and Renault had more marketing success with selling engines to McLaren and Williams in the 90’s than they did having their own team.

    2. They operate as an autonomous division of the Fiat group and currently produce more cars now than ever in their history. That figure is 3500 cars per year, what Toyota produce in less than an hour and BMW before lunch every day.

      ‘Exclusivity’ is the name of the game for the likes of Bentley and Ferrari. Limit the supply, have long waiting lists, charge extortion prices and then regardless of what happens out on the track the money will come flooding in.

      I bet Toyota and the likes wished they could do just the same.

  36. I never understood how companies like Toyota and Honda sell cars though F1. Who buys a car because the brand is in F1?

    They use the technology they develop in F1 in their road cars.
    If your company is connected with the high cutting edge technology of F1 even buyers of a Honda civic will feel they’re getting so F1 technology in their car.

  37. Bentley won the 2003 Le Mans.

    Was that a proper Bentley?

    1. Was it not an Audi in disguise?

  38. Ferrari are probably feeling a little bit lonely right now, and may feel that once again that the ‘garagiste’ are taking over the asylum.

    Toyota said themselves that the reason for departing was due to the economic downturn. If it had to do with anything that happened in the sport recently, then ,like Ferrari, I’m sure that Toyota would have been big enough to come out and tell it as it is, or at least as they think it is.

    I wonder just how much longer Mercedes and Renault will stick around before it becomes obvious to them that F1 ‘Isn’t where it’s at’ if you want to sell lots of road cars.

    1. Besides their financial problems, Toyota already stated before the start of 2009 that they would pull the plug if there wasn’t a win.

  39. can we blame Ferrari for winning too many championship in the past decade? haha

  40. They are both to blame. The FIA for conceding a veto to Ferrari, and Ferrari for using that veto to purely suite its own needs only are just one of too many reasons.

    The past few years have had me reflecting considerably what I think of as the moral and ethical demise of Ferrari who have shown themselves to be unprofessional, greedy and petulant etc. They may have a tremendous F1 history and following but I believe manufacturers are not and should not be the rulers of F1. Brawn, Red Bull, Force India prove my point exactly.

    I have lost all respect faith and trust in Ferrari and have great difficulty believing the legitimacy of all their accolades past present and future. The veto and desperately uneven distribution of F1 money, not to mention some woefully unprofessional press releases are again just three of many reasons why. I’m gob smacked that more are not verbal about Ferrari’s disgusting antics. Seems money can buy everything. Shame on you. And to think I used to be an ardent blinded or blinkered Ferrari fan (yes, shame on me too), who like many current fans just refuse to see and smell what’s right in front of their noses…

  41. 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.

  42. 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.

  43. 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!

  44. 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.

  45. 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…

  46. Hindsight is a wonderfull thing….

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