June 18, 2009

Formula One's major players announce they will create their own series: "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 the new Formula One Teams' Association.

posted by The_Special_Juan to auto racing at 09:10 PM - 19 comments

Wow. I can't believe the FIA has allowed Max Mosley to kill F1. I imagine it will be quite a few years before a clear winner emerges, but today everyone loses.

posted by dusted at 12:46 AM on June 19, 2009

This commenter at the Times Online sums it up:

Max Mosley is single handedly destroying Formula 1. It's time he did the right thing and stand down to save what is left of this whole mess and prevent a similar situation to the IRL/Champ-car split in America.

At the end of the day if the FOTA series does go ahead with the backing of the major car manufactures, I can't see how Formula 1/FIA can survive with only independent teams all being supplied with Cosworth engines. It will end up being another feeder series to FOTA.

posted by dusted at 01:01 AM on June 19, 2009

yeah what a shame..i guess max is finding out who the real power behind throne belongs too..

posted by hemi528 at 09:10 AM on June 19, 2009

I agree with the Times comment.

While it will still be a cut way above anything the U.S. has to offer, Mosley's series will become nothing more than the "second division" of Formula One.

posted by The_Special_Juan at 11:10 AM on June 19, 2009

This reminds me of what happened to the Champ Car Series when the IRL broke away. Neither series was worth much after that for many years. You would think F1 would look at this and realize they are only destroying themselves.

posted by dbt302 at 12:19 PM on June 19, 2009

I'm just wondering how they will get a series together in time for 2010. If anyone can do it, it's the manufacturers, but still... that's a huge task.

posted by dusted at 12:27 PM on June 19, 2009

I'm not a regular fan of Formula One racing, but this story is genuinely intriguing to me. Could somebody explain the basis of the conflict in layman's terms?

posted by Joey Michaels at 04:26 PM on June 19, 2009

You would think F1 would look at this and realize they are only destroying themselves.

Why would Nazi-boy and his used car dealer sidekick care? As long as they can keep milking F1 for hundreds of millions for a few years longer, I doubt they give a shit.

posted by rodgerd at 05:59 PM on June 19, 2009

Joey, here's one take:

Most of all, however, the rebel teams' resentment is aimed on the one hand at Mosley's autocratic regime and on the other at Ecclestone's refusal to give them more than 50% of formula one's estimated 1bn annual income from broadcasting rights, race sponsorship, trackside advertising and corporate hospitality.

posted by rodgerd at 09:53 PM on June 19, 2009

All right, that I can understand.

So a little less about the integrity of the sport and a little more about unfair profit sharing?

posted by Joey Michaels at 09:57 PM on June 19, 2009

"I'm not a regular fan of Formula One racing, but this story is genuinely intriguing to me. Could somebody explain the basis of the conflict in layman's terms?"

Last year Honda decided to quit the sport on about five minute's notice due to the economic downturn, leaving the FIA to face the possibility of having to ask teams to run a third car to avoid having less than 20 cars on the grid.

Since buying out the remainder of BAR, Honda had spent almost a billion dollars to turn out a very run-of-the-mill team, with their 2008 car, the RA108 being a dog of the worst kind.

Worrying about one of the other teams suddenly quitting and how they could possibly entice outsiders into the sport with the sentence "hey, $300,000,000 a year might get you to 16th on the grid!" the Max Mosley and the FIA ramped up their attempts to lower the cost of competing in F1.

They had already stipulated that engines (and, this season, gearboxes) have to last several races rather than being a one-shot deal, but now Max suddenly started punting out the idea of a financial cap on the sport. The cap would be voluntary, but teams that stuck to the cap would be given more technological leeway.

Some of the big teams responded badly to this, partly because they weren't told about the decision and partly because it also isn't a possibility for a responsible "big" team to get down to a E40,000,000 cap without slashing the jobs of large numbers of staff.

For an idea of how little E40,000,000 can be in F1, McLaren spent a rumoured E6,000,000 for just the final race of the season last year redesigning and constructing bodywork that would become illegal under the technical regs the second the race ended and so could not be re-used.

And the money is probably the real sticking point. While the teams are annoyed at the apparent dictatorial air that Mosley is displaying by announcing rules via the press rather than discussing them with the teams, the thing that's really burning them as that the FIA continue to push the line that money is important and costs must be cut when so, so much of the money the sport generates vanishes via the pockets of Bernie Ecclestone, his FOM group and the CVC capital venture group who own a large share of FOM, (or FOG, or whatever it's called this week).

The teams argue that maybe as much as 50% of the money the sport generates goes to groups outside the sport and that if cash is getting so tight, then maybe it might be nice if a bit more of the money that they generate went into the sport and into their pockets, rather than into Ecclestone's mattress.

There's a general feeling that the teams do all the work, while Max barks at them and Ecclestone rifles their pockets and that this has been going on a bit too long.

Amusingly, Ecclestone and Mosley have been on the other side of this sort of thing once before.

There, that was a brief answer.

(on preview : Or what Rogered said in about a thousand less words)

posted by Mr Bismarck at 10:18 PM on June 19, 2009

Thank you, Mr Bismark and Rogered!

All right, now I can see where the integrity of the sport is actually being impugned. What a mess.

posted by Joey Michaels at 03:32 PM on June 20, 2009

To elaborate on how the money and the integrity issues can intertwine: race venues. For the last decade, Ecclestone has been cutting deals with non-traditional race venues in China, Bahrain, and the like, at the expense of places tht have run F1 for the better part of 50 years - Imola, Silverstone, and so on. Bernie insists this is about bringing F1 to bigger audiences and is a visionary move. On the face of it, getting into the Asian market (for example) is a good idea.

Here's where it starts coming unstuck, though. For one thing, it's snatching heavily-attended races away from the fans (like Imola) and seeing teams race in often near-empty tracks, because no real effort has been made to cultivate those audiences. So teams aren't getting in front of their fans. That's tradition/spirit.

Money? Well, for one, Bernie is basically setting up a bidding process for races. Middle-Eastern despots and emerging Asian nations have been happy to have their governments chuck 25 million quid at Bernie's pocket for a staging fee (which the teams don't see) to capture the race. And, oh, by the way, instead of going from Monza to Silverstone to Monaco to Imola with your teams, you'll be going from Monaco to Bahrain to Shanghai to...

Boy, that's some cost concern, right?

So the fans miss out, the teams go broke, but Bernie's pockets are fatter.

posted by rodgerd at 04:00 PM on June 20, 2009

Aye - the tv director at Turkey two weeks ago was told not to point his cameras at the stands because there were half empty on Sunday for the race.

Meanwhile, Silverstone had 90,000 in today for qualifying.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 06:47 PM on June 20, 2009

Mentioned my opinion in my largely ignored Le Mans thread, but I find it rather telling that FOTA statements seem to be filled with frustration, whereas all Mosley manages is petty insults.

The president of the world governing body of motorsport called the members of FOTA "loonies" in an interview on the BBC.

I hope F1 dies. Mosley should have been ousted years ago. People defend him with regards to safety in F1. We've had two deaths on his watch on track. (Four if you include marshalls.) However, prior to Mosley's tenure on Balestre's watch, at least from the 80's there was Villeneuve, Paletti and De Angelis. The latter didn't die during a race weekend.

The point? If you're going to single out and praise Mosley for how "safe" F1 is these days, you may as well thank him for the sun rising. Safety would have improved on anyones watch, and the fact is with Mosley it took two drivers dying for the FIA to make any sort of changes. Safety would have improved anyway, regardless, no matter who was in charge.

If the breakaway happens I'll watch it. Unlike IRL and Champcar, the FOTA series will pretty much exclusively have the big names, the big drivers. All the FIA have right now is a back of the grid team in Force India, Williams who'll need a new engine deal, and a bunch of GP2 and lower operations. Oh yes, and an egotistical, rude, misguided delusional leader governing the sport.

Mosley touts trying to save the teams money, yet KERS took millions to get working, and all that money was completely wasted.

If F1 was a horse, they'd have shot it by now.

posted by Drood at 08:21 PM on June 20, 2009

If F1 was a horse, they'd have shot it by now.

Or a gymnast.

posted by tommybiden at 08:43 PM on June 20, 2009


posted by Drood at 10:04 PM on June 20, 2009

tommytrump FTW.

posted by Joey Michaels at 10:39 PM on June 20, 2009

If you're going to single out and praise Mosley for how "safe" F1 is these days, you may as well thank him for the sun rising.

And, indeed, you'd be overlooking the drivers' work in pushing for safety. F1 managment have never really had much to do with it.

posted by rodgerd at 04:15 AM on June 21, 2009

You're not logged in. Please log in or register.