FOTA walk out of FIA meeting: WAR ON!

Max and BernieThe fuse has been reignited in the war between FOTA and the FIA. As we discussed earlier this week, the FIA said that the teams technically have run afoul of article 66 and are mere observers to the process and that no regulation changes can be made without unanimous consent from all teams—including the new teams which are not part of the FOTA membership.
We stated then that this was another attack by the FIA to dislodge the FOTA unity and weaken their position and it seems FOTA agrees.

Representatives of all FOTA teams attended a meeting of the Sporting Working Group at the Nürburgring today.

During the course of this meeting, the team managers were informed by Mr Charlie Whiting of the FIA that, contrary to previous agreements, the eight FOTA teams are not currently entered into the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship and have no voting rights in relation to the technical and sporting regulations thereof.

It will be remembered that all eight active FOTA members were included on the “accepted” entry list as endorsed by the FIA World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) and communicated by FIA press statement on June 24.

In light of these claims, the FOTA representatives requested a postponement of today’s meetings. This was rejected on the grounds that no new Concorde Agreement would be permitted before a unanimous approval of the 2010 regulations was achieved.

However, it is clear to the FOTA teams that the basis of the 2010 technical and sporting regulations was already established in Paris.

As endorsed by the WMSC and clearly stated in the FIA press statement of 24 June “the rules for 2010 onwards will be the 2009 regulations as well as further regulations agreed prior to 29 April 2009”. At no point in the Paris discussions was any requirement for unanimous agreement on regulations change expressed. To subsequently go against the will of the WMSC and the detail of the Paris agreement puts the future of Formula 1 in jeopardy.

As a result of these statements, the FOTA representatives at the subsequent Technical Working Group were not able to exercise their rights and therefore had no option other than to terminate their participation.

The FOTA members undertook the Paris agreement and the subsequent discussions in good faith and with a desire to engage with all new and existing teams on the future of Formula One.

From FOTA’s position, this arrangement is completely unacceptable and antithetical to the spirit and nature of their agreement with the FIA made back in June. It is no wonder they walked out of the meeting as the FIA have chosen to offer polemics and bravado in the hopes that FIA Max Mosley can save face or his office come October which signals the end of his term.

The intertwined politics, legislation and legal padding Mosley has placed around himself is astoundingly thick with little to no hope that a legitimate contender to his position could ever unseat the incumbent. The power struggle for regulatory control of the sport is not over and many are suggesting that the previous threat by FOTA to form their own breakaway series will now be launched in to full motion.

Autosport reports that the commercial rights holder of F1, the CVC, are furious with the turn of events today and they should be. Their investment will be worthless should FOTA leave the FIA World Championship and with CVC representative and F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone fighting his own PR battle after praising Adolf Hitler this weekend; it is only a matter of time before the entire situation explodes in to a million pieces.

Fans, sponsors, teams, drivers and even the CVC are growing tired of the Max and Bernie show. The thread bare blanket of financial security born at the working hands of a dire economy is adding massive pressure to the mix and from this authors point of view—FOTA must break away from F1 in order to have any hope of ever continuing sanely. Making a deal with Mosley and Ecclestone has become nigh on impossible as the two seem to have lost their minds under the tremendous weight of their egos and desire for power, control and money.

“Mosley must go!” says many signs and avatars around the web. Ecclestone may have assumed that he and CVC were insulated from the war and that progress was made in Paris back in June but his dear friend Mosley has reignited the war machine over ego and pride and launched the first mortar at FOTA’s trench. These political games that Mosley is playing are patronizing to the teams, sponsors, derivers and fans. Talks of Ari Vatanen running for FIA President, Mosley stepping down, a peaceful deal cut with the FIA is just nonsense. There is no deal with the FIA as long as Mosley is at the helm. The only way to rid the sport of Messrs. Ecclestone and Mosley is to form a breakaway series and leave them to toil in their collapsed empire.

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