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GP Week : Issue 49
FOTA/FIA war reaches Could a split really happen? T HE political war of attrition between the FIA and the Formula One Teams Association has taken further twists over the past seven days, as the threat of a very real split in the sport grows ever stronger. The latest developments were sparked by an interview with Max Mosley in Swiss Publication Motorsport Aktuell, in which he ramped up the pressure on the FOTA teams and spoke for the first time about the potential of a split: “What I would say to them [FOTA]: If you want to formulate your own rules, then you can organise your own championship, providing it meets the safety requirements. But we have the Formula 1 championship. We draw up the rules for that, have been doing that for 60 years and we will continue doing so.” His comments were a direct challenge to the FOTA teams and their calls for a review of the system of governance in Formula 1, and caused an apparent backing down by leading FOTA members in Turkey, including Renault F1 boss Flavio Briatore. “There is no war; we don’t want any war,”he professed. “I think we have a responsibility to the employees that we have; I think we have a responsibility to the fans and to the supporters of Formula 1. We don’t want war with anybody – what we want is governance; we want a system that was always in Formula 1; we want a Formula 1 Commission; we want a Concorde Agreement; we want stability; we want to cut costs and make Formula 1 more efficient.” FOTA Vice-President John Howett however confirmed to journalists in Istanbul that the threat of FOTA teams forming a breakaway was real, and achievable. “It’s partly a hypothetical question but I don’t think it’s an insurmountable problem. I want to emphasise again it’s not the sole unique target of FOTA [but] if we’re force into that position, I think as a defensive strategy, it’s something that has to be part of our scenario planning and it has been for some time.” With a decision due on the 2010 line-up on Friday, and FOTA and the FIA yet to have any meaningful discussions over their block entry, the next few days will be critical for the future of the sport. melting point