Eight current teams have released a statement revealing that they are to leave Formula 1 at the end of this season. Members of the Formula One Teams Association (FOTA) sent out the message following a meeting on Thursday, stating that all current teams apart from Williams and Force India will leave F1 at the end of 2009.
With FOTA having been involved in a dispute with F1 governing body the FIA since the latter announced a €45m budget cap for next season, FIA president Max Mosley released one final proposal on Wednesday which described how, although a budget cap would remain, he was fully prepared to reach a compromise with FOTA. On top of this, the FIA also released letters this week stating that a number of current FOTA representatives, before the group was formed, agreed to the idea of a budget cap in January of 2008.
With this in mind and the FIA keen to receive all entries to next year’s World Championship – and without containing any additional conditions on FOTA applications – Mosley insisted that all full, unconditional entries should be organised by this Friday in order to give new teams a reasonable chance for 2010 preperation. He also described how FOTA teams can, by modifying the Concorde Agreement of 1998, be able to enter the championship before then being able to write a new draft ahead of next year, meaning rule changes can take place in the process.
Believing that the upmost effort has been applied in order to seek an answer to the disagreement and following FOTA’s own meeting at Renault’s Enstone base – a stone’s throw from Silverstone – on Thursday evening, the group released the following statement:
‘Since the formation of FOTA last September the teams have worked together and sought to engage the FIA and commercial rights holder (Formula One Management, lead by Bernie Ecclestone), to develop and improve the sport. Unprecedented worldwide financial turmoil has inevitably placed great challenges before the F1 community. FOTA is proud that it has achieved the most substantial measures to reduce costs in the history of our sport. In particular the manufacturer teams have provided assistance to the independent teams, a number of which would probably not be in the sport today without the FOTA initiatives.
The FOTA teams have further agreed upon a substantial voluntary cost reduction that provides a sustainable model for the future. Following these efforts all the teams have confirmed to the FIA and the commercial rights holder that they are willing to commit until the end of 2012. The FIA and the commercial rights holder have campaigned to divide FOTA.
The wishes of the majority of the teams are ignored. Furthermore, tens of millions of dollars have been withheld from many teams by the commercial rights holder, going back as far as 2006. Despite this and the uncompromising environment, FOTA has genuinely sought compromise. It has become clear however, that 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.
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.