Archive for the ‘News’ Category

FOTA teams to set up breakaway series in 2010

June 18th, 2009 No comments

FOTA logoWell that’s that, then.  Nobody backed down.

After a four hour meeting at the Renault factory in Enstone, the eight FOTA teams (BMW-Sauber, BrawnGP, Scuderia Ferrari, McLaren-Mercedes, Red Bull Racing, Renault, Scuderia Toro Rosso, Toyota) have decided that they are unwilling to sign up unconditionally to the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championhip and therefore have no choice but to begin planning their own breakaway series.

Here is the full statement:


Silverstone, 18 June 2009 – Since the formation of FOTA last September the teams have worked together and sought to engage the FIA and commercial rights holder, to develop and improve the sport.

Unprecedented worldwide financial turmoil has inevitably placed great challenges before the F1 community. FOTA is proud that it has achieved the most substantial measures to reduce costs in the history of our sport.

In particular the manufacturer teams have provided assistance to the independent teams, a number of which would probably not be in the sport today without the FOTA initiatives. The FOTA teams have further agreed upon a substantial voluntary cost reduction that provides a sustainable model for the future.

Following these efforts all the teams have confirmed to the FIA and the commercial rights holder that they are willing to commit until the end of 2012.

The FIA and the commercial rights holder have campaigned to divide FOTA.

The wishes of the majority of the teams are ignored. Furthermore, tens of millions of dollars have been withheld from many teams by the commercial rights holder, going back as far as 2006. Despite this and the uncompromising environment, FOTA has genuinely sought compromise.

It has become clear however, that 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.

These teams therefore have no alternative other than to commence the preparation for a new Championship which reflects the values of its participants and partners. This series will have transparent governance, one set of regulations, encourage more entrants and listen to the wishes of the fans, including offering lower prices for spectators worldwide, partners and other important stakeholders.

The major drivers, stars, brands, sponsors, promoters and companies historically associated with the highest level of motorsport will all feature in this new series.

Your move, Max.

Update: The FIA have responded.

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FIA publishes list of entrants – shit hits fan

June 12th, 2009 No comments

FIAThe FIA has published the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship Entry List. It is only a short press release but it is packed with controversy.

There are 13 teams on the list as the maximum number of cars permitted to enter the 2010 Championship has been increased to 26.  All existing 2009 F1 teams are there along with three new entrants: Campos Grand Prix, Manor Grand Prix and Team US F1.

McLaren, BMW, Renault, Toyota and Brawn are listed as conditional entries and are ‘invited to lift those conditions following further discussions.’  The FIA has given these teams a week to drop their conditions.

But more importantly, Ferrari and the two Red Bull teams are not listed as conditional entries which prompted the following response from Maranello:

Ferrari shall not take part in the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship until the conditions of its entry are satisfied

Maranello, 12th June 2009 – Following publication of the list of entries for the 2010 Formula One World Championship, which includes Ferrari as an unconditional entrant, Ferrari wishes to state the following:

• Ferrari submitted on 29 May 2009 an entry to the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship which is subject to certain conditions. As of today, these conditions have not been met;

• notwithstanding this and despite Ferrari’s previous written notice to the FIA not to do so, the FIA has included Ferrari as a unconditional participant in next year’s Formula One World Championship. For the avoidance of any doubt, Ferrari reaffirms that it shall not take part in the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship under the regulations adopted by the FIA in violation of Ferrari’s rights under a written agreement with the FIA.

And this from Red Bull Racing:

Following the FIA’s publication of the entry list for the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship, Red Bull Racing would like to make it clear that its entry was submitted as a conditional entry, consistent with those of all other FOTA members.

Red Bull Racing remains committed to FOTA and fully endorses all its principles.

So what now?

Autosport reports that FOTA have written to the World Motor Sport Council asking for their support in finding a ‘solution that allows long established competitors to continue in their sport within a framework of sound governance and stability that will ensure the future and sustainability of Formula 1’.

The letter also confirms that the teams are prepared to enter into a binding agreement to race until 2012 and are also willing to ‘encourage and assist new entrants to the sport’.

Why is it that FOTA always seem to make helpful, considered suggestions while Max Mosley and the FIA seem intent on being confrontational and difficult?  The following excerpt from the FOTA letter sums it up nicely:

Our fundamental wish is to work within a framework of cooperation and dialogue with the Federation to improve Formula 1 and to stop the confrontational and negative approach that has dominated the sport in recent years.

This approach compounded with constant announcements of regulatory changes, resulting from the unstable governance process that exists, has unfortunately created a situation of confusion and uncertainty among the public and sponsors. This situation is adversely affecting the business of both the teams and the organisers

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Lewis Hamilton painted in motor oil

June 11th, 2009 No comments

Lewis Hamilton painted in used motor oil by David MacalusoNew York artist David Macaluso has painted a portrait of Lewis Hamilton using oil taken from the McLaren MP4-23 Formula One car Hamilton used to win the 2008 World Championship.

Commissioned by McLaren partner Mobil 1, the painting will be unveiled at the British Grand Prix next weekend.

Apparently next week is National Oil Check Week and Mobil will be running a competition where you can win one of 50 limited edition prints of the portrait.

Macaluso has been working with used motor oil for some time and has even painted a series of portraits of Barack Obama.

Apparently the Mobil 1 oil was ‘extremely smooth and very particle-rich’, making for a  ‘great painting medium’:

I’ve been recycling used motor oil into paintings since 2005, so it was exciting to do a portrait of Lewis, and it was a privilege. When people look at my portrait of Lewis Hamilton, I want them to know it contains the Mobil 1 that circulated inside his Mercedes-Benz engine.

Lewis Hamilton liked the results, too:

I’ve always known that the Mobil 1 in my race car is an important component that can give us an edge over our rivals in some circumstances, but I’d never have guessed you could use it to paint with; the oil gives this picture a unique look and feel.

Another McLaren partner has also been busy making automotive art.

Ever wondered what would happen if Lewis Hamilton’s Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Formula 1 car was driven through 1,200 liters of paint?  AkzoNobel has.

After months of planning, Hamilton’s MP4-24 was driven through pools of red and silver paint.  Unsurprisingly this resulted in paint being sprayed everywhere with the splashes captured on two 50 square metre canvases.

I’m not sure the results are as impressive as Macaluso’s portrait but take a look at the making of video below and see what you think.

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FOTA teams commit to 2010

May 29th, 2009 No comments

FOTA logoAll the current Formula One teams have submitted conditional entries to compete in the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship.

Ferrari and some other teams had previously threatened to pull out of Formula One if the new regulations were not changed.  On Monday Williams lodged their 2010 application, and in so doing were suspended from FOTA.

It seems the outcome of negotiations between FOTA and the FIA is that the current 2009 rules will continue in return for the teams signing a new Concorde Agreement to commit to racing until 2012.

In a press release on the FOTA website, the Teams Association said:

All FOTA Teams have today submitted conditional entries for the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship.

FOTA confirms all its Members’ long-term commitment to be involved in the FIA Formula One World Championship and has unanimously agreed further and significant actions to substantially reduce the costs of competing in the Championship in the next three years, creating a mechanism that will preserve the technological competition and the sporting challenge and, at the same time, facilitate the entry in the F1 Championship for new Teams. These measures are in line with what has been already decided in 2009 within FOTA, achieving important savings on engines and gearboxes.

All FOTA teams have entered the 2010 championship on the basis that:

1) The Concorde Agreement is signed by all parties before 12th June 2009, after which all FOTA teams will commit to competing in Formula One until 2012. The renewal of the Concorde Agreement will provide security for the future of the sport by binding all parties in a formal relationship that will ensure stability via sound governance.

2) The basis of the 2010 regulations will be the current 2009 regulations, amended in accordance with proposals that FOTA has submitted to the FIA.

All FOTA teams’ entries for the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship have been submitted today on the understanding that (a) all FOTA teams will be permitted to compete during the 2010 Formula One Season on an identical regulatory basis and (b) that they may only be accepted as a whole.

All FOTA teams now look forward with optimism to collaborating proactively and productively with the FIA, with a view to establishing a solid foundation on which the future of a healthy and successful Formula One can be built, providing lasting stability and sound governance.

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What the drivers think

May 21st, 2009 No comments

Michael Schumacher, Monaco, 2003On Wednesday, a French court dismissed Ferrari’s attempt to prevent the introduction of new rules for the 2010 Formula One season.

Ferrari had objected to the introduction of a voluntary £40m budget cap that could produce a two-tier championship, where those teams opting for the cap would receive greater technical freedom.

The Tribunal de Grande Instance in Paris found that the FIA did not have to get the Scuderia’s permission to change the rules and that “there is no risk of any imminent damage which should be prevented or obviously illegal trouble which should be stopped”.

So in the lead up to the most prestigious race on the Formula One calendar, once again the exciting on-track action is overshadowed by the off-track politics.  But what do the drivers think?

Fernando Alonso:

If the big teams and the big manufacturers leave F1 then I don’t want to race with the small teams, because it is not F1 any more, and there are many other categories.

For me, it is strange no one sat down and thought how much we are damaging the sport, how much damage the sport has had in the last two months.  To have those three or four new teams and to lose seven of the big manufacturers, I cannot understand, and not just losing the seven manufacturers, but losing the 10 best drivers in the world.  F1 would not be interesting.

Kimi Raikkonen:

I am pretty sure that we [Ferrari] are not going to disappear from F1, but I cannot be 100 per cent sure.  I will still have a contract with them and they are racing in many different categories, so I think they will find something for me.

If Ferrari is not in F1 nor any other big team like BMW or McLaren, it is not good for F1.  They are the teams that make F1 and if you change the teams for other teams, new teams that come from GP2 or somewhere else, then it is not the same any more.

Felipe Massa:

We have a lot of fights on the political side, and in many areas.  For sure that doesn’t help the sport, because many of these fights made many people a little bit upset.  All I hope for is more sport and less politics.  We are here for racing, and to fight each other on the track, not outside.

People can say whatever they want, but if you lose Ferrari, F1 won’t be the same.

Mark Webber:

At the end of the day I’m very passionate about the sport, and the more they do to destabilise it and make it more difficult for teams or people that try to enjoy it and stick up for it at the bar every week, it’s difficult to keep talking positive about it when we wash our clothes in public so often.

I hope the sport is in reasonable shape next year in terms of teams competing.  There’s a lot of water to go under the bridge yet and some serious egos involved, so we’ll see.

They [Ferrari] are F1.  The red car has to be on the Formula 1 grid.

Sebastian Vettel:

We drivers are all here because we love cars and we love racing, because motor sport and F1 is our life. Formula 1 is the best platform to race on and we want the sport to continue, but it’s always difficult when it comes to making new rules.

Robert Kubica is trying to stay detached:

It’s true that lately I think around Formula 1 there are a lot of things happening that are not involved in the sport.  So I’m not directly involved in it as a driver, so I don’t really have the information to judge it.  I’m a racing driver, all I’m trying to do is to make our car faster and to prepare for each race.  What is going on, I cannot judge.

As you might expect, it’s hard to curb Jenson Button’s enthusiasm for Formula One these days.  He thinks the racing will make up for the politics:

I think the racing is a good message for the fans.  When the fans turn on the TV on Saturdays and Sundays, I think they get a great show.

What do you think?  Is there too much politics in Formula One?  Can Formula One survive without Ferrari?

Image: Ferrari

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