Home » FIA, FOTA

FOTA to Launch Rival Championship

By Mav | 19 Jun 2009 | 33 Comments | 5,313 views

It was supposed to be farewell to Silverstone this weekend, but unless something dramatic happens quickly it looks like it will be the eight current members of FOTA who will be saying farewell to Formula One and launching their own series, potentially including Silverstone.

Following a four hour meeting at Renault’s headquarters in Enstone, FOTA have decided enough is enough and there is no point continuing their discussions with the FIA and Max Mosley. Instead they will start preparing a rival championship which “reflects the values of its participants and partners.”

“This series will have transparent governance, one set of regulations, encourage more entrants and listen to the wishes of the fans, including offering lower prices for spectators worldwide, partners and other important stakeholders. The major drivers, stars, brands, sponsors, promoters and companies historically associated with the highest level of motorsport will all feature in this new series.” - FOTA Press Release

FOTA are saying the right things but we’re on the brink of a sad day for motorsport and the World Championships in particular, in it’s 60th season. It has strange echos of last year when Silverstone was celebrating it’s 60th birthday and Bernie Ecclestone chose to spoil the party by announcing that the circuit was to be dropped. It’s also quite poingnant that the circuit where the World Championship began may bear witness to it crumbling.

It remains to be seen how the FIA respond – perhaps this decision will force Max Mosley to make concessions. Then there is still the question mark hanging over his insistance that Ferrari, Red Bull and Toro Rosso are contractually obliged to take part next year. Forcing them to take part though, is hardly a recipe for a sucessful series. FOTA, however, appear to be arguing that the withholding of winnings by the commercial rights holders has left any contract null and void.

The crisis is picking up speed but it’s not all over yet by a long shot.

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33 Comments »

  • saltire

    Why does all the interesting stuff happen when I’m not around?

    I’m actually really happy that FOTA have decided that enough is enough. It seems to me that Max came back stronger than ever after his Chelsea incident and is not the type to make concessions to anyone so I’m glad it looks like biting him on the bum.

    It is very ironic that Max and Bernie were responsible for the changes in governance after the FOCA war so it seems apt that their reign could end in a similar fashion.

    Bring it on!

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  • Maverick

    I’m rather saddened by this really. The powers that be are tearing our sport apart for their own selfish reasons and the fans are left just having to watch it.

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  • str8guy

    Well I for one am delighted … Max and Bernie have been on a power-trip for way too long now…

    And we will be able to get Montral and other great tracks back on the calender.

    This is the best F1 news I’ve heard all year!

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  • str8guy

    Lets see …..

    Ferrari, McLaren, BMW, Renault, Toyota, Red Bull, Williams, Brawn GP, Toro Rosso, Force India, Epilson and Prodrive !

    Sounds good to me !

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  • newdutchstar

    I for one would LOVE to see some of the discarded circuits back in the major league of single-seater racing. Mention has already been made of Silverstone, but I would LOVE to see a return to the full circuit at Brands. There are many others, including those mentioned above.

    There is an opportunity AT LONG LAST for a new broom… a chance to create new rules, specs, and an IMPARTIAL governing body, free from egotistical leadership.

    Sponsors will follow where the top teams and drivers go. THEIR contracts are surely with the teams, and NOT the FIA.

    QUOTE>>”One option that hasn’t been explored would be to have a series sponsor.”

    Virgin? Although there might be a conflict of interest with Brawn… but bear in mind one of the major sponsors of F1 is Vodafone???!!!

    Whatever happens, it can only be better than the farcical decisions, and poor administration, that has dogged F1 over the last few seasons.

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  • largeflowered

    Mixed feelings really. Max and Bernie have had their time, and although I find that I’m writing this next bit through “clenched teeth”, they have brought in some effective and often entertaining innovations. However, the positive contributions of their governance are now far outweighed by the detrimental effect of so many of the controversies that it seems only natural that they should be deposed.

    A new F1 -v- an alternative competitive series: just evolution?

    (On reflection, it actually seems much healthier to me ;) )

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  • saltire

    I reckon that the major sponsors would go with the FOTA teams than potentially jump ship to a Formula One Championship full of new entrant teams. Indeed if as FOTA suggest it would be cheaper for fans and the circuits to host their alternative event it should also be cheaper for sponsors .. and that’s something that they would be keen to see.

    Also, there is bound to be so much interest in this new series that the sponsors would surely want to be part of that, at least in the first year. Obviously if FOTA didn’t make a success of it then things may be different subsequently. I wouldn’t be surprised if Bernie as an individual would want to be involved as a promoter of the series. Is he tied to CVC that he couldn’t retire for their and work with FOTA?

    One thing seems sure is that the .”dynamic duo” of Bernie and Max seems to be at an end and it could be those two who end up looking like the “joker”

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  • saltire

    Hey largeflowered .. very pleased to see you here :)
    I’m really getting to like the idea that Max will get a taste of his own medicine .. every dog has his day and his was back in the 90’s.

    Hehe tomorrow at Silverstone will probably be my last chance to get to see an F1 car in action, I could see me becoming a right FOTA fangirl!

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  • largeflowered

    >saltire, TY for that.

    For the record, I’m fotally tota myself (?!)

    (Liking the blog version very much. Good show!!)

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  • Maverick

    Hi largeflowered, thanks for the comments, good to hear from you.

    The big problem for me is that I can’t help thinking that the FIA repeatedly bring the sport into disrepute and yet they’re not answerable to anyone. Max has really been taking the mickey the last two weeks. To turn around and say that 2010 wouldn’t have a two-tiered rule system after all and then in the enxt rule state that Cosworth would not be rev limited would be hilarious if we didn’t know he was being totally serious.

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  • largeflowered

    Out of frustration, I’ll post this here (and be damned!)

    I’m sure everyone on here will have seen this already but the second half of this interview is very telling. Watch the body language and facial expression.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/motorsport/formula_one/8109846.stm

    (Jake should get an award for this!)

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  • Boga

    what madness.

    i tried hard to dislike max, as seems to be the thing to do, but i find it more and more difficult. i find i have very little sympathy for one f1 team which already has a veto on technical issues and gets more money and then finds it necessary to improve its cash flow even further by getting more money from TV rights.

    lets face it, whats FOTA without ferrari? nothing nada niente, zero points. and whats left for teams in a series without ferrari? nothing nada niente, zero points too. and i feel sorry for renault, toyota and bmw. their last hope in F1 now rests with this blindly following the prancing horses.

    great piece of politics though, to make things look like its all for the best of racing and proudly announcing its all for the fans! yeah right. its the circuit owners who set the ticket prices, so its not up to FOTA to come with statements like that. its not in ferrari’s interest at all to have close and competitive racing. all they want is to be in front.

    one seriously cheesed off boga who burnt his ferrari shirt! if only i had one :)

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  • Maverick

    Ferrari don’t seem to be selling much mechandise this weekend, for wearing or burning, so you might not be the only one, Boga (how you doing by the way?) General opinion at Silverstone seems to be pro-FOTA but I think it’s more a general anti-Mosley feeling rather than any opinion based on the current situation.

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  • Boga

    i am fine, thanks maverick. especially after that little rant. i am just seriously bored with all this mosley bashing. pfff…. as if anyone knows the guy. so i did some other stuff for a while.

    and today i found an interview with the chief manitou from ferrari, sometime last year. big complain cos his team lost sponsor money cos of the financial crisis. so he wanted more money from the tv rights. a whopping 33 mil extra fo all teams. and for that meagre bit of dosh they want to blow up f1. argh…

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  • saltire

    Hi Boga,
    Nice to see you back here for a visit. We had a wonderful day out at Silverstone and a chance to enjoy the cars and the racing free from politics for the day. Never seen GP2 before but if F1 does self-destruct I could quite see me getting into that.

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  • largeflowered

    Alright for some!!! tsssk ;)
    ________________________________________________
    >Boga. Nobody (with any sense) is really “bashing” MM for any other motive than “what’s best for the sport”. If I’m not entitled to voice an opinion, then that’s a sad day. If you’re not, that’s sad too. I am constantly aware of the fact that we are all being manipulated for someone else’s gain and therefore I’m quite prepared to challenge any “value” system.

    I find very little evidence to morally support MM, other than he is a shrewd tactician and an able lawyer. A stalwart of society? I don’t think so.

    An innovator? Well, maybe, but anyone in his position would have been severely lacking in their responsibilities if they had not responded to the need to place an increased emphasis on safety.

    Max maybe part of the present infrastructure of F1, but, in reality MM (apart from family history and connections) is nothing special. Neither is FB.

    Let’s not lose sight of the fact that F1 is as much part of the entertainment industry as it is a competitive “sport”.

    (Other series offer equal and often better entertainment value, though it pains me to say)

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  • largeflowered

    Facetiously he added: “Go on then, swim the channel!”

    Then made a wish…

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  • saltire

    “Other series offer equal and often better entertainment value, though it pains me to say”

    GP2 was great .. but it’s no replacement for F1 yet .. ask me again about that if FOTA do enact their breakaway plan!

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  • saltire

    By the way guys .. if you want an avatar to display on the blog. Register your picture and email address with http://en.gravatar.com/ and it will display your chosen picture when next you comment.

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  • largeflowered

    >saltire: I think I know what you mean by: “but it’s no replacement for F1 yet”

    Surely that’s perceptual, relative, and to a “large” degree, conditioning.

    My experience of lower formulae (the term “lower” being purely based on alphabet/numerical/remuneration structure) is that it can be very reminiscent of earlier incarnations of F1/GP racing.

    I actually think it’s about time that we faced up to the fact that fundamental change is necessary to ensure the long-term future of ALL motorsport.

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  • largeflowered

    (Help! I added an avatar… and nothing happened. I am “helpless” ;) )

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  • Maverick

    :-D Gravatar will add, it takes a while to process. That said, mine has reverted to my old one for some reason… hmmm…

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  • Boga

    largeflowered

    i fully agree on F1 being entertainment and i always have. even though i find the racing more interesting.

    i don’t agree with your statement people are bashing max for the better of the sport. on some boards he is referred to as ’spanky’, people ‘hate’ him and all kinds of other names and all kinds of sicknesses are poured onto the guy. what has that got to do with the sport? no one of these people even know the guy.

    maybe i am simple, but i would expect people to come up with at least a bit of an analysis. max is president of the FIA. whats the decision structure of FIA? do we know? just an example. we all think its max who makes the decisions. problem is, we don’t know.

    and thats my problem. 1. no one met max and still people come up with personal attacks and 2. we don’t have all the information. so its an useless discussion, to me at least. i have no need to call people names and i have no need to discuss things i don’t know.

    basically, simple. but thats me :)

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  • largeflowered

    >Boga.

    This feels a bit like raking over old coals, doesn’t it? Of course MM hasn’t personally come up with all the bad things in F1 in recent years and by equal measure he certainly isn’t personally responsible for all the positives.

    I don’t “hate” Max Mosely; how could I? I have never met him in person. I dislike his public persona, I dislike the incestuous relationship with Bernie. Of course his private life is none of my business. But he isn’t a saint or saviour by a long way.

    He chooses to continue as the public face of the FIA and as such sets himself up for lambasting, criticism and ridicule.

    Sticks and stones etc.
    :)

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  • saltire

    Personally I feel that Max has too much power and if you have too much power you are less willing to listen to anyone else’ opinion. I think Max was ahead of the game in noticing that the economy was going south but feel that he handled the situation with the teams badly. After all a few days ago he was saying if they want to start their own championship that’s fine but now that they look to be going ahead with that he will sue.

    Perhaps if he was to listen to the teams views it may not have come down to this. I think he must partly take the blame for dragging the sport down due to his inability to compromise.

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  • Maverick

    Personally I think FOTA and Max are equally to blame – remember this really started to gather momentum when Max decided it should be a single-engine series which was always going to be a no-goer for the manufacturers. The problem is that Max has been showing a certain lack of leadership and direction as he tries to play people off against each other rather than being focussed on what would really be better for F1. He could have picked three teams that would have been capable of operating at a higher budget than £40 million and instead picked at least two who cannot – so he can say the cap cannot go up??? Then there is the “not a two-tier system” that has two different engine specifications – sure… that’s not a two-tier system, Max!

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  • saltire

    I’ve just been reading David Tremayne’s column in The Independent where he discusses Mr Mosley’s unscheduled appearance at Silverstone and the ongoing battle with FOTA. Anyway, there’s a section in the article that got me interested “Sources within the paddock suggest that Mosley’s sudden reappearance may have been motivated by a desire to seek a quick resolution to Formula One’s problems – which some attribute to his style of management – because he has got wind of a possible coup at the FIA’s World Motor Sport Council meeting in Paris on Wednesday.”

    Does anyone know off-hand if the presidency of the FIA is automatically renewed on completion of the current term or has he to stand for re-election?

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  • Boga

    probably. but then we don’t have too much racing to discuss these days, do we? although the vettel win did bring a smile to my face.

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  • Spenny

    Not only have you got Max (who needs to be re-elected) rushing around pointing out to all and sundry how the lunatics are trying to take over the asylum, it was noticeable that Bernie has realised that he has contributed to losing the battle for the hearts and minds of the fans.

    The total about face on Silverstone was breathtaking – and very damaging to Bernie’s previous imperviousness to outside pressure. The teams didn’t start off wanting to run the financial side of the sport, but Bernie refusing to give anything to the teams while the FIA are demanding the teams take all the pain must have been a great incentive. Why do the teams and tracks, who take all the risk and do all the work, have to take the hit while CVC is asked for nothing?

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  • saltire

    You might be interested in reading this blog post from Joe Saward. It talks about the potential overthrow of Max Mosley at the FIA World Council meeting being held in Paris on Wednesday and also some alternative scenarios.

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  • largeflowered

    saltire, that link doesn’t seem to work for me. (but hey! What’s new? ;P)

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  • saltire

    Oops, sorry.
    Maybe I haven’t quite got the hang of the linky thing on the blog with the html code and all .. here’s a proper link http://joesaward.wordpress.com/2009/06/22/en-route-to-paris/

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  • saltire

    Maybe the breakaway championship isn’t such a done deal after all.

    A meeting of FOTA and the FIA being held later today will either confirm the split or mend some bridges. The source article doesn’t go on to say which of the meetings will be held first, but I’d have thought that if the WMSC is first and Max digs his heels in by confirming the speculation that he wants another term as president of the FIA then that has to influence how FOTA react in their meeting. http://www.f1technical.net/news/12753

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