It’s not me, it’s you

Overshadowing today’s practice sessions, the world of Formula 1 has gone crazy this morning, with the announcement by the Formula One Teams’ Association (FOTA) that its teams are going to leave F1 and set up their own series.

The eight member teams – Ferrari, McLaren, Brawn, BMW, Toyota, Renault, Red Bull and Scuderia Toro Rosso –  have said that they can’t ‘continue to compromise the fundamental values of the sport’.

FIA boss Max Mosley urged the teams to drop the conditions they’d attached to their entries for the 2010 F1 championship, but they have declined his, erm, urges.

Of the new series, FOTA says: ‘[We] 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.’

This is no doubt another power play by FOTA to try to get what it wants, but Mosley’s a wily old fox in these situations and rarely loses a fight.

What’s most likely to happen now is that Bernie Ecclestone will step in and broker a deal between the two camps, but we’ll have to wait and see.

Either way, it won’t threaten the racing this weekend, which promises to be epic.

What do you think about FOTA’s threat – is there anything in it?

UPDATE: according to the live text on BBC Sport:

‘The FIA is to issue legal proceedings without delay against the Formula One Teams Association following their threat to begin a breakaway series.’

Youch, I wonder on what grounds? Ferrari and the Red Bull teams are apparently contracted with the FIA to race in F1 for the next couple of years, but surely the others can do what they like?

This weekend is going to be messy off the track.

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I am in USA and I fear the battle will do to to tier F1/FOTA racing what the IndyCar vs CART battle did to open wheel racing here, e.g. divide the fans, divide the TV coverage and hurt the sport in the long term. THAT SAID, I am strongly on the side of FOTA. The teams should have more say in the rules and if you want to be TOP TIER, money is part of the equation. It should be up to the company that owns the team to decide how much they spend. In the FIA news release, a comment is made about “in the real world” Well all the teams are connected to the real world by economics. Even Ferrari can’t spend limitlessly on their racing team without eventually compromising the company as a whole.

The role of the governing body should be to mediate/enforce rules for safety, car size, car weight, and on track behavior. It is also attractive to make the cars in some way responsive to world demands on new car technology like alternative fuels and hybrid technolgy.

With that said, my humble proposal for FOTA is to limit total cost by spreading the expense bwn series. Specifically, I believe all the FOTA teams are also involved in Le Mans LMP1. It would be fairly simple to make the new series and derivative by allowing LMP1 chassis with F1 weight limits. Taking the LMP1 chassis and putting an open wheel configuration body on top would reduce weight. Beyond that, all the different fuels can be compared directly by carbon output and energy output for unit volume.

“Leveling” of the field could be simple if rules stated a minimum wt, car size, and energy limit per race, and minimum time for a “fuel only” pitstop. Each team could then choose the type of fuel or hybrid system they want. It might be moderate horsepower engine with great fuel milage to limit pitstops to tire change only, or a high horsepower fuel guzzler. Success would then be created by good driving and good pitstop strategy for the type of setup the individual team chose. One problem now is that fuel is delivered faster than tire changes, if that were not the case the skills of the Team would be a bigger factor in choosing pit strategy.

F1 and or whatever the new series is called should be the pinnacle of race technology. Not a spec-racer series or pseudospec racer series as Bernie and Max seem to want (e.g. cost limits and shared technolgy). A1GP is true spec racer and is attractice because of competition by nation and Indycar is darn close and not that attractice at all. F1 deserves better.

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Surely if they feel the OPTIONAL budget cap is such a wrong, then they could all just not do it?

Only one team is still using KERS (Ferrari) and no-one seems to care, so if you don’t want your budget capped, then don’t cap it. Simple. Maybe debate with FIA instead about the amount of testing allowed for high-budget teams.

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I fully agree with FOTA, enough is enough, signing a contract before all conditions are known is a form of …..mail. Max calling the FOTA members loonies is really showing what the man is made of. In America, being called a loony is ground for legal action. It also shows disregard for the fans, and I wonder what Mr. Max thinks of the fans, fans follow teams and drivers, not the FIA. Costcutting is not spending millions on KERS, that is wasting money, costcutting is not forcing teams to go on a “welfare budget”, that is nothing less than unfair. Changing specification and rules each season does certainly not reduce costs. Way to go, FOTA please, please start you own series, go to those tracks, Silverstone, Zandvoort, Montreal, Laguna Seca etc.where Bernie is not welcome.By the way there is a top-five for Bernie, Max and FOTA(seperate of course), which has no purpose at all, but maybe it can make someone smile.

Bernie’s top 5
Money makes the world go round (Cabaret)
Money, Money (Abba)
Goldfinger – S. Bassey
Fool on the hill – Beatles
Silence is golden (tremeloes)

Gow now! (Moody Blue)
Hit me with your rhythem stick (I.Drury + Blockheads)
Dirty Old Man (Three Degrees)
Suicide is painless (MASH)
War (Edwin Starr)

I will survive (G. Gaynor)
Break Free (Queen)
Breaking up is hard to do (N. Sedaka)
Divorce (T. Wynette)
Time is on my side ( Roling Stones)

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Bernie thinks he has the power to sort this out, but FOTA may only get back on board if Max goes.

Has Bernie got the guts to kick Max out ?

Or will Bernie jump ship and join FOTA (don’t laugh, it IS possible), leaving Max with his dream of running F1 ?

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ferrari and the other teams are only kicking up a fuss cuz they all know theyve go the money to build a car that can kick everyones ass and with the budget cuts they cant do it

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Ferrari will send a B team to F1, simple as that. It’s not like their not allowed to race anywhere but in F1

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