FOTA officially disbanded

2014 F1 season

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The Formula One Teams’ Association has officially been disbanded five years after it was established.

An announcement on its official Twitter account today stated: “I can confirm that FOTA has today been disbanded as a result of its members’ having re-evaluated their requirements in the face of a changing political and commercial landscape in Formula One.”

FOTA originally represented all the Formula One teams but at the time of being disbanded only seven of the eleven competitors were members: McLaren, Mercedes, Williams, Lotus, Force India, Marussia and Caterham.

The organisation was founded in 2009 as Formula One teams sought to oppose the efforts of FIA president Max Mosley to impose a drastic change in regulations on the sport. Once that had been achieved FOTA’s members agreed their own framework for cost controls called the Resource Restriction Agreement.

However disagreement over how the RRA should be enforced led to a split in the teams’ unity, and in December 2011 Ferrari, Red Bull and Sauber left the body.

This badly weakened FOTA’s bargaining power but the body continued to play a role in F1 decision-making. It also ran a series of fan forums at which supporters had the chance to quiz senior team members and drivers, and put across their views about the sport.

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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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31 comments on “FOTA officially disbanded”

  1. Sad, but not very surprising.

    It also ran a series of fan forums at which supporters had the chance to quiz senior team members and drivers, and put across their views about the sport.

    Yeah right, at best you could call it an autograph session..

    1. @andae23 It did start out as more than that – I think how closely they stuck to that brief varied depending on where they were.

      1. @keithcollantine Maybe it’s a case of ‘you’re as good as your last race’, because imo the last one in the UK was pretty.. unproductive. It’s great that an organization is actually giving the fans the opportunity to get their opinions heard, but the way it’s done is not very effective. I’ve never seen it as a ‘forum’, as in exchanging opinions, but more as a press conference or interview session.

    2. I would say the first couple of those sessions were far more than that @andae23, but it lost steam a lot. Off course it was only a matter of time when Ferrari and RBR and their minions decided to grab the cash Bernie offered instead of holding together.

      1. @bascb

        It makes little sense to link the loss of steam of the Q&A sessions to RBR and Ferrari leaving the FOTA, especially because those sessions stopped being relevant long before that.

        Secondly, RBR and Ferrari left the FOTA because of the RRA, something that would have helped equalize somewhat the field, which would have benefitted Ecclestone’s agenda.

    3. W (@yesyesyesandyesagain)
      28th February 2014, 14:35

      I was at the FOTA fan forum in Austin this past November and the crowd got to ask the drivers whatever questions they wanted for a good half hour, and there was no autograph session. Keith’s description of the events sounds spot on based on my experience. I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t just a PR session with pre-screened questions.

    4. @andae23 Judging by this transcript, it rather seems like a press conference where fans have replaced journalists.

      It’s a nice thing to do but I would be much happier if the teams didn’t run fan forums but used common sense when making decisions and didn’t ignore the fans when the overwhelming majority of them disagree with some decision or idea. For instance, it is good that the double points scheme hasn’t been extended to the final three races but there should be no double points at all, given how strongly the fans have opposed the rule.

      Talking about the aforementioned transcript from 2011, one of the fans asked what was being done to reduce ticket prices. For sure, nothing has been done about that since then.

      FOTA is dead and it’s obviously going to take a long time for something similar to be born. But no matter if the teams are united or not, it is important that they listen to the fans, not simply let them talk. As some wise man said: Two monologues do not make a dialogue.

      1. @girts Well, it’s nice if those in power (FIA, FOM, whatever) would actually listen to the fans, and in my opinion a fan forum did not really make that happen. I would much rather see something like an FIA survey, so that the fans could voice their opinions and the FIA has a crystal clear image of what the fans are thinking. Maybe it’s a bit of a far-fetched idea to question millions of fans every year, but it would certainly be more effective than having eight people ask questions for 30 minutes.

        1. @andae23 Agreed! I thought about that today as well. It shouldn’t be too hard to make a global survey; the problem is that no one seems to want to know what the fans think. The situation certainly isn’t made easier by the intransparent F1 rule making process.

  2. F1 makes another stride forward. Wooo! Go teams!

    Unfortunately not surprising, but it’s a shame they can’t collectively look beyond their own interests and see what is right for the sport.

  3. Bernie must be estatic!

    On the positive side this might be the dawn of a new organization based widely acceptable requirements instead.

    It is not only sad but potentially hurting the sport if the teams cannot aggree to stand united against the lunatism we see from FIA and Bernie these days.

    Hopefully they will start realizing that it is not about individual gain but about maintaining the integrity of the sport as a whole.

    1. Poul Winther (@poul) said on 28th February 2014, 11:30 –
      Bernie must be estatic!

      Yup, Christian Horner served his master well, and LdM cut off his nose to spite his face.

      RBR works against the interests of all the other teams, whereas Ferrari is just simply out for themselves, but not trying to destroy others (witness how they’ve never used their special political veto, despite ample opportunity to have done so).

      Now it’s only the EU Competition Commission that can right the structural wrongs put in place by FOM and tacitly condoned by (a bought-and-paid-for) FIA…

  4. Terrible decision. The teams are better united, no matter how much they bicker n the process.

    1. matt90 (@matt90) said on 28th February 2014, 11:30
      Terrible decision. The teams are better united, no matter how much they bicker n the process.

      Matt, where have you been?

      The teams haven’t been united for years, since both RBR and Ferrari undermined FOTA by quitting the organization, and later (w/ Mercedes) signed individual commercial agreements w/ FOM that looked after their needs exclusively, at the expense of the smaller teams – thereby cementing F1’s structural inequities.

      1. Yes, but putting the final nail in the coffin is still stupid, unless it were to immediately pave the way for a new organisation including all the teams (which obviously won’t happen).

  5. When you look at how the first teams association came about, and the work it got done, and you look at how FOTA has turned out now, you really know who’s pulling the strings.

    Bernie Ecclestone…….The Puppet Master.

  6. This is a dilly of a pickle!

    Oh my god, FOTA has disbanded! Wa, ah, ah. argh!

  7. My reaction to this? Besides not being surprised at all, a simple gesture: facepalm. Just facepalm.

  8. Well,… no big deal really. Its been disbanded now, but it can always be re-created if needed in the future.

  9. It is unfortunate that competing teams in this sport cannot see the advantages of laying down the arms once in a while to ensure that what they’re fighting over remains relevant and, obviously, it is precisely why one individual has been able to hold such sway over the direction of the sport. It’s really a bit pathetic – these are major players in a major venture, yet they’re led by the nose by a little (as in petty) man who knows how to push their buttons. F1 needs a new paradigm and technical changes alone ain’t gonna do it.

    1. @maciek

      It is unfortunate that competing teams in this sport cannot see the advantages

      Or maybe it’s we, the fans, that -with very limited- information- believe there are advantages? I mean, it’s a trend I’ve seen lately around these parts. We all have bought the picture of Bernie Ecclestone’s being a cartoon villain and the poor little teams are suffering his tirany. But is that really so?

      I mean, F1 has quite a couple of issues, but so do every sport/entertainment. And there again, you don’t really see the teams too opposed to anything Ecclestone says, not even Ferrari with their supposedly almost-magical veto power. RBR, Ferrari, Mercedes and McLaren are doing fine, all things considered, and, want it or not, they are F1 at the moment. I could see why Caterham and Marussia would need something like the FOTA, but the big four? Hardly. Separately fighting for their individual situations fit them more than siding with competitors. And none of them seem to conserned by what Ecclestone is doing. if anything, they all seem to have the best of relationships with him.

  10. The politics of F1 are something I don’t quite understand: in short, what does this mean for F1 and its teams?

    1. That the Prancing Pony runs the sport, money gives you wings and that Peter Sauber flies solo.

  11. I said when it was formed in 2009 that it wouldn’t last long so the only Surprise is that it lasted as long as it did.

    The finger will be pointed at Bernie & for the teams that left but in reality is was never going to work because in the competitive environment everyone in there pushes for what gives them the advantage.

    It was the same when they formed the GPMA back in 2005, Everyone pushed for what they wanted regardless of what that meant for everyone else & in the end that fell apart as well for some of the same reasons FOTA now has.

    It’s why im always so against the idea of the teams running the sport, I spent time around CART before moving into F1 in 1997 & I saw the nonsense that went on in CART & I’ve seen some of the same stuff happen in team meetings in F1.
    Despite what they say publicly its very rare to see them try & do anything thats best for the series, You had the top teams in CART ensuring they had a lock on the best engines & the best new chassis bits to the determent of the smaller teams & the competitiveness of the series & you see the same sort of things occur within FOTA.

    FOTA always said they listened to the fans, In what way?
    They held there fan forums which allowed fans to ask questions yet how many of the questions & concerns raised ended up having anything done?

  12. Honestly, apart from the fan forums (which I never understood the hype for), what have FOTA ever actually achieved?

      1. @keithcollantine Ah the good old budget cap war, I completely forgot about that! I was reading the part about fighting Max Mosley’s regime and couldn’t for the life of me remember what that was…

  13. In an ideal world, such a thing wouldn’t be necessary – the teams are there to compete against each other, the governing body should work for the sport’s and the teams’ benefit, and the teams should co-operate in name of sportsmanship.
    But in the current state of things I liked that the teams found themselves together to get involved into F1 politics, putting rivalries “aside” for the superior interest of the group over the individual.
    But since Ferrari, Red Bull and Sauber left it had no meaning to be. Rather, it looked even more as a separation of F1 teams into two groups, where 1 vs 1 rivalry is fiercer than everyone vs everyone. This fate was announced and is unsurprising, yet sad anyhow.

    1. @fixy – OK, so do you lament the disbanding of FOTA or are you indifferent – or event happy for this outcome?

  14. Welcome the Ferrari Red Bull Bernie Show. Same as it ever was…

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