Formula One teams to set up breakaway championship

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Friday, June 19, 2009

Jenson Button, the current championship leader, racing in Shanghai, China.
Image: Derrick Noh.

Formula One was in disarray last night after eight members of the F1 Teams Association (FOTA) announced they are going to set up a rival championship to the current series next season.

"We've no alternative than to commence preparation for a new championship."


The reason for this drastic move is Max Mosley's plan to introduce a voluntary £40 million budget cap in order to make it easier for new teams to enter & existing teams to continue.

The association refused to agree to this, worried it would result in two divisions. After a four hour meeting last night, Brawn GP, Ferrari, McLaren, Renault, Toyota, BMW Sauber, Red Bull Racing and Toro Rosso announced their decision.

A FOTA statement read the following: "Since the formation of Fota last September the teams have worked together and sought to engage the FIA and commercial rights holder (Bernie Ecclestone), 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, 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."