Dec.6 (GMM) Red Bull quit FOTA because the teams association had ceased to have a good purpose, Dr Helmut Marko said this week.
Late last Friday, after many international news editors had already called it a day for the week, the team as well as Ferrari confirmed that they had pulled out of the Geneva-based body.
Formed amid the political war with former FIA president Max Mosley, the alliance gave the teams a strong negotiating position as well as a platform to reduce costs with the gentleman’s ‘resource restriction agreement’ (RRA).
It is the RRA that caused the tension, with Ferrari struggling recently despite having F1’s biggest annual budget, and Red Bull accused of breaching the spirit of the cost-cutting rules.
“FOTA fulfilled its purpose in the crisis period,” Red Bull F1 consultant Marko said on Austrian Servus TV on Monday, “and so there was a reduction in costs, but as far as achievements there was nothing else.”
Agreed team boss Christian Horner: “In the last twelve months it hasn’t quite been clear what was the purpose of FOTA.”
Added Marko: “If at the meetings we cannot agree even to the lowest common denominator, one wonders what is the point of all the effort.”
Some believe the FOTA split gives Red Bull and Ferrari powerful individual positions to negotiate lucrative deals with Bernie Ecclestone under the next Concorde Agreement.
Others worry that F1 teams will now return to the unsustainable financial arms races of the past.
“We have decided at this time to withdraw and now we will see how it develops,” said Horner ambiguously.
For the moment, the divide has F1’s biggest spenders Red Bull and Ferrari on one side, and powerful competitors including McLaren and Mercedes on the other.
“I think it is absolutely vital that FOTA is existing,” carmaker Mercedes’ racing chief Norbert Haug told reporters on Monday.
France’s autohebdo.fr reports that the remaining FOTA members will meet for talks on Tuesday.
Said the Mercedes team’s chief executive Nick Fry: “We’ve certainly hit a bump in the road but I believe that work will continue in the background to try and resolve this and we will do whatever we can to support that.”