World champion marques withdraw from the F1 teams association
Ferrari and Red Bull unhappy about proposals for cost cutting
Their withdrawal means nine of the 12 teams on grid are represented
Ferrari hoping sport will return to earlier ideals of cutting-edge technology
Red Bull and Ferrari have pulled out of the Formula One Teams Association due to conflict over proposals for cost cutting in the elite motorsport.
The umbrella group was formed at Ferrari’s Maranello base in 2008 to help the teams protect their interests in talks with ruling body the FIA and F1’s rights holders.
While the Italian marque’s president Luca di Montezemolo was the initial leader of FOTA, since late 2009 it has been headed by McLaren chief Martin Whitmarsh.
Hispania left FOTA at the end of the team’s first season in 2010, and the latest defections mean that nine of the 12 teams on the grid are part of the group.
“Formula One, like the rest of the world, is currently going through a delicate period. Ferrari wants to work with all parties for the future of a sport that expresses the highest level of motorsport technology,” the 31-time world champions said in a statement on Friday.
“We must return to a situation where F1 is really a test bed for advanced technological research, the results of which can be transferred to Granturismo cars. In addition, we must not forget that this sport must become more user-friendly and more accessible to the general public.
“Furthermore, it cannot be the only professional sport where it is practically impossible to do any training: the number of days of testing must be increased so that the drivers, especially the young ones who lack experience and the teams, can be adequately prepared, as well as providing more opportunities for them to come into contact with spectators and sponsors.”
Red Bull have dominated F1 in the past two years, winning the constructors’ title twice as Sebastian Vettel became the sport’s youngest double world champion.
“Red Bull Racing can confirm it has served notice to withdraw from FOTA,” the UK-based Austrian outfit said in a statement on Friday.
“The team will remain committed to finding a solution regarding cost saving in Formula One.”
Ferrari – whose last world title was the 2008 constructors’ crown – will also continue to work within F1’s Resource Restriction Agreement, which aims to control costs.
“It was a difficult decision and a great deal of thought went into it. It was taken reluctantly after analyzing the current situation and the stalemate when it came to debate on some issues that were at the core of why the association was formed,” the team said.
“Some of the major achievements of the association during these years, also worked out in conjunction with the FIA, centered around cost reduction, which was of significant benefit to everyone, the big teams and the small ones.
“Ferrari was on the front line in this area, even before the birth of FOTA, and it intends to continue down this route to ensure the sustainability of the sport in the long term.
“Now however, it is necessary to find some new impetus to move it along because FOTA’s drive has run its course, despite the excellent work of current president Martin Whitmarsh in trying to reach agreement between the various positions for the common good.”