The future of Formula One Teams Association (Fota) has been questioned since both Ferrari and Red Bull quit the organisation.
Fota was unable to find an agreement on the Resource Restriction Agreement (RRA) which places a cap on Formula 1 teams’ spending leading to both Ferrari and Red Bull becoming increasingly frustrated.
Both Ferrari and Red Bull believe that Fota has come to the end of an era and the teams will still be committed to finding an answer to savings in Formula 1. There was a stalemate in regard to some of the issues as to why Fota was formed in the first place.
Formed in 2008, Fota was set up with the purpose of acting in the interest of F1 teams when it came to negotiations with the with the aim of representing the interests of the teams when dealing with the sport’s governing body, the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) and Bernie Ecclestone. Before Ferrari and Red Bull decided to leave, 11 of the 12 Formula 1 teams were members of Fota.
Fota was instrumental in defining a series of rules that limit spending on costs such as; aerodynamic research, staff numbers and external spending.
Fota’s document, which was agreed in 2009, was not part of FIA rules was a stepping stone towards a wide-ranging and detailed agreement. However Fota were called in when it was alleged that certain teams were thought to have over spent and has led to many rows in trying to sort the problems.
The team principals met after the Brazilian Grand Prix and failed to come to an agreement. The discussions lead to a stalemate on certain issues and brought into question the whole idea as to why the association was formed in the first place.
One such debate was to do with the number of days spent testing. It was argued that some drivers especially new and younger drivers who don’t have the experience need more time to be prepared for the coming season.
Another argument centred around spending. Even the biggest teams such as Ferrari realised that there has to be caps on spending in order to preserve F1 as a sport, to give everyone a more equal chance. Ferrari for one, even though they have left Fota, believes that cost cutting is essential and that young drivers need more time behind the wheel.
Ferrari says that they are still committed to controls in cutting costs and modifying the current RRA to become more stringent especially on areas not currently covered such as engines.
There is a two-month notice period that Ferrari and Red Bull have to change their decision if an agreement over the changes is reached.
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