Maurizio Arrivabene, Claire Williams, Zak Brown, Circuit of the Americas, 2018

F1 teams say no plans to revive FOTA despite recent summits

2018 F1 season

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Formula 1 team bosses say they recent summit meetings are not aimed at re-forming the Formula One Teams’ Association.

The 10 competitor teams held meetings without inviting representatives from FOM or FIA at the last rounds at Suzuka and Austin. Another is planned during this weekend’s Mexican Grand Prix.

However when asked by RaceFans, McLaren Group CEO Zak Brown said he doesn’t expect the teams to recreate the union which lasted from 2009 to 2014.

“No I don’t see the re-formation of FOTA,” said Brown. “The teams, as we all are, are working towards what the future need to look like and so the teams are just coming together on a more regular basis to talk about where we think the sport should go.

“It’s all very constructive, nothing sinister about it, and I think it’s a good thing that the teams talk more openly and share our views because ultimately we’re all trying to get the sport in a better place and that’s the objective of the meetings.”

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff, whose hospitality area served as the venue for the first two meetings, also denied any plans to reform FOTA.

“I think we will always be able to sit down and put things out in the open,” he said.

Wolff described the last summit between the teams in Austin as “one of the rather positive meetings.”

“It was constructive. Things were openly discussed. Which generally is something that with Chase [Carey] running this paddock has become more open and transparent. The meeting this morning had a little bit of the same spirit.

“Obviously the objectives are very different between the teams but fundamentally what unites us is that we want the sport to be successful. One team or one group of teams running away with the championship, having a two-tier championship like we’re having now we know that is not good. And that’s why the discussion was positive.”

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Discover the significant lesson F1 must take from the collapse of CART in the latest instalment of Dieter Rencken’s RacingLines column later today on RaceFans.

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Dieter Rencken
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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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  • 13 comments on “F1 teams say no plans to revive FOTA despite recent summits”

    1. I guess that if they did they would call it differently – maybe an Alliance of F1 teams is on the cards :-)

      The fota also was about having them really bound together for the contract negiations with Bernie. Didn’t it have legal language barring teams from doing side deals (why RB and Ferrari quit FOTA before they signed those deals with Bernie at the time)?

      1. @bascb – Following on in the footsteps of Prince, I nominate the name “The Alliance Formerly Known as FOTA”.

        And I think you’re right – I too remember that one of the goals of FOTA was to ensure teams were signing up to the same thing with Bernie.

        Although, seeing the recent confusion in August around FI’s resurrection as RPFI, maybe an alliance is needed to still ensure they all have the same bits of paper that they’re being asked to sign. With Bernie, the differences were malice, with Liberty, it appears to be incompetence.

        1. @phylyp: “With Bernie, the differences were malice, with Liberty, it appears to be incompetence.”

          Zing!

          Often get the feeling what Bernie told them he was selling is something much different than what they bought. The used FOM vehicle didn’t come with the user-friendly manual, wing-to-wing warranty or easy monthly payments.

          But… Liberty, being a media company, were (over) confident they could upgrade F1 with some fresh paint and slogans – and tame the piranha pool with vague promises and snazzy new graphics.

          1. @jimmi-cynic – agreed.

            However, I don’t think it’s just that Bernie sold them a pack of lies, but that Liberty were also guilty of overconfidence in their ability to solve problems their due diligence would have identified (the Brazil contract situation comes to mind). Having said that, I do hope their due diligence did identify the Brazilian situation, and that it wasn’t missed, because that’s the kind of ticking time bomb that can unnerve investors. As it stands, the balance sheet of FOG and teams does look like it’ll be getting a painful Brazilian, with the absence of part of the fees.

            In some respects, it appears that Liberty have taken on the Silicon Valley motto of “move fast and break things” – they kick of various experiments and changes, and course-correct as needed. While this is good when the idea is to be seen doing “something” it runs the risk of appearing to be haphazardly thought out and poorly executed (e.g. the changes to the timing app).

            1. Oh, well done, @phylyp! You’re waxing prophetic. Perhaps to better display the Todt Thong in Sao Paulo?

              The SillyCon Valley ‘disruptive’ mantra is fine for a group of 20 something startup nerds or Formula E.

              Which leaves Liberty the ‘haphazard’ path to disrupt themselves and disgruntled long-term fans. As @dieterrencken points out, best not upset the manufacturer cart.

              Will Liberty go for the full Holywood, strip its assets bare or leave something for shareholders’ imagination?

            2. @jimmi-cynic – I chuckled at many phrases in your post, but this is one I’m stealing “SillyCon Valley”.

              Will Liberty go for the full Holywood, strip its assets bare or leave something for shareholders’ imagination?

              I’m sure Dieter will reveal all at the right time.

    2. So… no FORCE FOTA T-shirts in the paddock next year.

      When Zak says there’s “nothing sinister about it” probably means it’s even more sinister than we can imagine.

      In this new era of openness and cooperation among the teams, who have nothing to hide, why not publish the informal meeting minutes? ;-)

      1. In this new era of openness and cooperation among the teams, who have nothing to hide, why not publish the informal meeting minutes?

        Clever! – @jimmi-cynic

        1. Or broadcast the meeting on FTA television ;)
          (and F1 TV can show different angles from the participants iPhone cameras)

    3. If they feel the need to re-form FOTA then they will re-form FOTA.
      Simple as that.

    4. Let’s face it – the teams are concerned about the apparent reduction in income they’re going to get.

      Liberty seem unable to come up with any real ideas on how to generate income that will translate to team payments. They seem to be focusing on “media” (read their F1TV app that doesn’t work) income which I don’t think necessarily translates to team income.

      If the teams don’t come up with ideas to address the falling attendances, I doubt their incomes will suffice to keep quite a few of them running. Either that or they need to approach some major sponsors that will fund all teams as a group which they may also be discussing.

      I guess they need to try something although inter team agreement on anything is a rarity.

      1. or they need to approach some major sponsors that will fund all teams as a group which they may also be discussing

        That’s a very interesting point, @dbradock . Do you know if that has ever been considered or discussed previously?

    5. Well there it is in black and white from Toto Wolff. FOTA is being reformed!

    Comments are closed.