Teams Could Regret Decision to Leave FOTA says Mercedes F1 Team Chief

February 22, 2012

Ross Brawn, Mercedes team principal, has suggested Formula One teams leaving Formula One Teams’ Association (FOTA) may regret their decison and has labelled the decision of the departing teams as short-sighted.

Red Bull, Ferrari, Sauber and Toro Rosso all announced they would be leaving FOTA towards the end of last year, meaning just seven outfits remain in the group. The split came in the midst of a row over the cost-saving Resource Restriction Agreement (RRA) and Ferrari issued a statement saying “FOTA’s drive has run its course”.

However, Brawn believes FOTA’s remit is wider than just cost saving, and with Concorde agreement negotiations over the distribution of the sport’s revenues coming up, he is disappointed that the teams have not maintained a united front.

“We are very committed to FOTA and we think it’s a great shame that we’ve lost the members from FOTA because I think we may live to regret that,” Brawn said. “I think when there was a crisis and outside pressure it pushed FOTA together, now that there’s not so much outside pressure the natural competitiveness of the teams is pushing us apart a bit.

“But I think we are very short-sighted in not recognising that FOTA has a very important role to play. I think it is an unfortunate feature of Formula One that we all find it fairly difficult to come together. I’m a great believer in FOTA but I’m disappointed, obviously, with what has happened in the last few months. I think we’re going to regret it in Formula One because one of the objectives of FOTA was to find the right solutions for Formula One, not just the right solutions for an individual team.”

And he said it was pivotal teams remain united over the RRA.

“The RRA is very important. We’ve got to find some means of restraining the costs overall and technical regulations and formal regulations will only go part way. The concept of RRA is very important, but it does need everyone to commit to it and work together to find the best solution to having an RRA system. We are committed to it and we are going to persevere to try and make sure it is applied properly and it’s viable for the future of Formula One. I think without it we are at high risk.”

by Ismail Uddin