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Reaction to F1 breakaway threat

Formula One
F1 could have a different look to it next season

Formula 1 is embroiled in a row which could see eight teams leave the current set up and form their own rival championship.

A budget cap to rein in costs, how revenue is distributed and the overall running of the sport are the key issues at the centre of the dispute between members of the F1 Teams Association (Fota) and world motorsport boss Max Mosley.

The latest twist in the saga saw Fota's members meet on Thursday ahead of the British Grand Prix and decide to go it alone.

F1's grid could be without Brawn GP, Ferrari, McLaren, Renault, Toyota, BMW Sauber, Red Bull Racing and Toro Rosso next season.

Here is some of the reaction to a row which has thrown F1 into turmoil.

Brawn GP chief executive Nick Fry

"We have negotiated with both Max Mosley and Bernie Ecclestone at some length in good faith and not quite got to where we want to be so at the moment it looks like we will be doing something different.

"It's a variety of problems. One is what we would call overall governance of the sport. The way it is run and decisions are made. There are also some financial difficulties on the way costs are going to be controlled in the future.

"I think Max in general does a good job but it's a combination of things. Some of the decision making we feel has been done without the consensus or the participation of the competitors and that is obviously an issue.

"The drive to reduce costs is the one supported by all the teams, but on the other hand some of the processes by which we get to cost cut aren't supported by a number of the teams.


"We're not against reduced costs in F1. They have got too high. For our team, which is one of the smaller ones, getting down to a figure like £40m is not so much of an issue. But we want to be competing against the likes of Ferrari or Toyota. They are much bigger companies and it is a much more difficult for them and they need time to do it.

"Really the ball is in Max's court. He has to announce the participants in the championship for next year, so we'll see what happens there. I do hope from our point of view that discussions continue.

"We want to compete against the best in the business, and the reason that we were very keen to be with the group of eight is that it contains the best motor racing teams in the world.

"We want to be competing against Ferrari, Renault and Toyota and others.

"As we sit here today, the great teams are within the Fota group, and Brawn GP want to be beating the best. I'd be confident there will be F1 racing next year - the format - who knows?"

Martin Whitmarsh

There is no F1 crisis - Whitmarsh

"There's been huge efforts over quite a lot of time to find a compromise and that hasn't been possible. Therefore, as the statement says, the teams regrettably feel they have got to move on and find a new direction and that's what the teams have committed to do.

"I don't think that can be considered to be a bargaining position. It's a position from the teams that we have got to look towards out own destiny.

"I don't think there will be two premier racing championships. All I can say is that there will be a championship next year and that the major names that have historically been involved in motor racing will be racing together and I think that will be recognised as the major championship."


"There has come a point where those negotiations have come to a close now. The teams have felt they have gone as far as they can and the FIA similarly.

"Therefore, you enter under the terms that we find unpalatable or you do something else. We've reached the stage that if we want to keep competing is to do something else.

Christian Horner

We have a duty to protect F1 - Horner (UK only)

"I think it's quite clear that the Fota teams have probably now gone as far as they can. I'm perhaps ever the optimist but from what I've seen of the statements from the FIA they seem fairly resolute.

"We've unfortunately reached that stalemate and I can't honestly see either side budging at the moment which leaves no alternative."

Force India owner Vijay Mallya

"We were always hoping there would be compromise between FOTA and the FIA.

"But at midnight last night I was notified by FOTA about their decision, which already seems to be heading towards a breakaway championship or series.

"We find this to be very sad and disappointing, particularly since the FIA World Championship and the Formula One brand has been developed into an invaluable property over many decades.

"As of now, Force India is a confirmed entrant to the FIA 2010 Formula One World Championship and we wait to see the developments over the weekend. Until a clear direction has been identified, we do not wish to make any further comments."

Former F1 driver David Coulthard

"I think this is another part of the challenge of Formula 1. We tend to think of the driver-car challenge on the track but it's always been about business manoeuvrings off-track as well.

"What we're seeing here is the ultimate manoeuvring, the ultimate game of chess, between the governing body and the teams.

"The rules can be whatever they all collectively decide them to be. The way F1 is set up, we have the commercial rights holder, Mr Eccclestone, and he does a fantastic job in getting the venues and the TV contracts, and the FIA which governs the sport and what they've said is that if the teams are not happy then they can go and find someone else govern them."

Triple world champion Jackie Stewart

"I think the teams have now realised that, economically, they can manage their own business very well, thank you very much, and the FIA often say that they are not the commercial arm of Formula 1 and the money side is not their business.

Sir Jackie Stewart

Sir Jackie admits money needs to be spent on the Northamptonshire circuit

"Well, right now they are making it their business and that's why there's been a fall out. Bernie Ecclestone must surely play a part in this as well because he has F1's commercial rights, and I think he has to influence Max Mosley on how he goes about his business.

"Max has been doing it in a very imperial way for probably too long and empires do come to an end, as Julius Caesar found out. Nobody is bullet-proof and nobody can last for ever - big trees do blow over."


"I'm not concerned. The Formula 1 world championship has been going for 60 years and will continue to go.

"We've had 73 teams in and out of the world championships so I don't suppose it will change."

Eddie Jordan

"It may be the situation where the teams are saying we will happily deal with the FIA but - and this is purely my view - but we want rid of Max Mosley.

"Max has to decide whether he goes for re-election or not, and I presume the teams want to see that he doesn't and that he follows through with what he said he would do and stands down.

"There's not a chance [of there being two rival series in 2010]. It's a huge sport but it does not stand up to having two rival events. No sport does, and I think to go against the governing body is a very, very dangerous position to take."

John Watson

"No-one is thinking of the public. What are the public going to think, coming to Silverstone or watching the British Grand Prix on television around the world? They don't want to know about this.

"What they want to see are the best drivers in the world in the best cars in the world, but there has to be at some point some degree of control. Whether Max Mosley and the FIA are that body, we will find out."

Murray Walker

"The really ugly factor in the mix this time, unlike 1980/1981 when we had a similar situation is that the teams are very unhappy with the governance of the sport, the FIA. The general belief is, as far as they are concerned, the governance of the sport means Max Mosley and they want him out.

"It is a genuine confrontation. But it is one thing for the teams to say that they are going to have their own series, it is quite a different thing for them to have it.

"If it does happen it would be replicating something that has happened in America in the past and that is their single seater series broke into two. Both sides suffered enormously and have never really recovered.

"I'd like to believe that at the last moment there will be some accommodation."


There is no other way to dress this up - it is a failure of leadership and management.

If Fota stay strong and can set up and fund a rival championship with all the big teams, That'll be the one I watch! It's good that somebody noticed public opinion here.


We fans should relish the escape from the FIA and see how F1 looks when it's run by the teams for a few years.

If the breakaway teams were to produce a level playing field and competitive, exiting racing it could be good, I'll bet the mortgage the deck will be stacked in Ferrari's favour though.

At least the FIA (and I have no love for Mosley or Ecclestone here) have remembered that this is a spectator sport, and they are trying to make it more entertaining for the fans. FOTA-F1 will surely just be the same processional rubbish we've had for years.

If the big teams leave and we get a grid of 26 cars on a £40M budget I don't care who the names are, and if they haven't got the top 10 drivers in the world, if the racing's good that's what matters to me.

I have lost interest in F1 this season. It has become more of a pantomime than a sport.

FOTA has given every chance to the FIA and particularly Mosley to sort out the issue, the series should be run by the member teams who make it what it is.

I fear this may simply be another tactic by Fota to pressurise Mosley and Ecclestone to agree to their conditions because Ferrari and Red Bull are tied into racing with the FIA and so imagine how long legal battles will go on for!!!

The issue here, as we all know, is not the budget cap; it's to do with Max and Bernie's running of the sport.

I am going back to watching celebrities competing in a reasonably price car around the Top Gear Test Track - not quite as exciting but certainly more stable.

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see also
F1 teams drop breakaway bombshell
19 Jun 09 |  Formula 1
Formula 1 is 'finished' - Alonso
19 Jun 09 |  Formula 1
Mosley stands firm in budget row
17 Jun 09 |  Formula 1
Ferrari increase pressure on FIA
13 Jun 09 |  Formula 1
Carmakers in F1 breakaway warning
12 Jun 09 |  Formula 1
F1 teams granted entry for 2010
12 Jun 09 |  Formula 1
F1 stars back teams in budget row
07 Jun 09 |  Formula 1
Briatore calms F1 walk-out threat
05 Jun 09 |  Formula 1
Ferrari stay firm over budget cap
31 May 09 |  Formula 1
Williams confirm F1 entry in 2010
25 May 09 |  Formula 1
Quit threat is no bluff - Ferrari
14 May 09 |  Formula 1
Toyota threaten pull-out from F1
10 May 09 |  Formula 1

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