Ferrari and McLaren send unified message

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Luca Di
Jonathan Noble at Autosport has written and very good piece about the recent Ferrari visit to Woking in an effort to improve the relations between Formula 1’s two most successful teams. You can read the story here.

What is most interesting to me is the notion that this visit is perhaps a bigger move than just friendly competition. It signals something much greater in theory, perception and reality than ever before in Formula 1; team unity and the spirit of working together for the betterment of F1.

Ron Dennis said this week on Formula 1’s website:

“FOTA has already achieved great things, and it will achieve even greater things in the weeks, months and years to come,” he said.

“But that shouldn’t be surprising.

“You should remember that the FOTA membership consists of a number of Formula One teams – companies – many of which are exceptionally impressive and successful organisations.

“In good financial times and bad, such companies are well equipped to power through, if I may coin that phrase.”

“We’re not complacent; we’re not reluctant to embrace radical change; we’re not hidebound by on-track rivalries. No, working together for the good of the future of Formula One, we’ll continue to devise powerful strategies and innovations intended to improve our sport so as to make it more affordable, more environmentally friendly and more appealing to spectators and TV viewers.”

The idea that teams can now work together even as fierce rivalries occur on-track is a breath of fresh air for F1. If two teams, who were embroiled in espionage litigation, can agree to work together and be a part of FOTA, there is little else that could occur to dislodge this working group in my opinion. If you think back to the past decade, Max Mosley’s FIA and Bernie Ecclestone’s FOM have exacerbated the division between teams and used this as a catalyst to drive home regulations and financial arrangements that benefit themselves mainly and the sport secondary or tertiary.

That all seems to be changing and the teams, lead by Luca Di Blah, blah blah, are now coming in to their own. The recent BMW insistence on retaining KERS for 2009 or the engine standardization concept as Mr. Noble points out, could have derailed the FOTA efforts and yet they seemed to navigate those issues with ease.

From this fans perspective, I sense the war for F1 has just begun. The unification of the teams and the political clout they now carry is outweighing the iron fist control that Max Mosley and Mr. Ecclestone have enjoyed for decades. Part of that theory is based upon the Fan Survey that FOTA will be delivered in coming weeks. Just how will FOTA view the fans concerns and what measures will be agreed upon? Traditionally the FIA have just made the regulations and the teams have obeyed but now FOTA are a crucial element in the changing of F1 and this leaves me very optimistic about the future of the sport. Perhaps measured, calculated changes are needed from a collective group of vested competitors instead of the machinations of two individuals that many consider are beyond their sell-by-date.

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