After months of bitter words between the sport’s governing body (FIA) and the Formula One Teams’ Association (FOTA) over the controversial cost-cap scheme set to be introduce next year, the eight remaining FOTA teams have announced they are to form their own racing series for 2010.
This shocking news story broke last night on Autosport.com and it seems that Ferrari, McLaren, Renault, BMW, Toyota, Brawn GP, Red Bull and Toro Rosso are set to create their own series independent of Formula 1.
As you can read in this extract below, the reason for the split is FOTA had grown increasingly frustrated with the FIA’s stance against the organisation, and had no option but to create a series of their own.
“The teams cannot continue to compromise on the fundamental values of the sport and have declined to alter their original conditional entries to the 2010 World Championship,” said a statement issued by FOTA after the meeting.
“These teams therefore have no alternative other than to commence the preparation for a new 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.”
So what’s left on the FIA series? Well, next year’s Formula 1 world championship will feature only five confirmed teams: Williams, Force India, Manor Grand Prix, USF1 and Campos Grand Prix. But, we could see the likes of Prodrive and Epsilon Euskadi on the grid to fill up the remaining places.
This split in Formula One is the worst possible outcome between FOTA and the FIA. The negotiations between both parties over the issue of reducing costs dragged on for months and this split is a devastating blow not only for Formula One, but also for the hardcore fans and motor sport in general.
We now face the prospect of a divided world championship next season, with neither of the two resulting series enjoying the strength that Formula 1 has accumulated in its 60-year history. At a time of such economic turmoil, it is a desperate course of action to take.
Not surprisingly, the FIA has blamed factions within FOTA for the failure of the two parties to reach agreement on the future of the sport, following the announcement that there will be a rival series next year. In an extract below, you can sense the bitterness in the press statement.
“The FIA is disappointed but not surprised by FOTA’s inability to reach a compromise in the best interests of the sport,” said the statement.
“It is clear that elements within FOTA have sought this outcome throughout the prolonged period of negotiation and have not engaged in the discussions in good faith.
“The FIA cannot permit a financial arms race in the championship nor can the FIA allow FOTA to dictate the rules of Formula 1.”
This is a sad day in Formula One and yet again the politics of the sport has completely overshadowed the events at this weekend’s British Grand Prix at Silverstone. Racing is what matters to the fans… not this.