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Formula one reeling as teams threaten breakaway series

Andy Martin 18.06.2009 21:23
Ferrari are among the teams who have declined to enter the formula one series in 2010. Photograph: Crispin Thruston/Action Images

Ferrari are among the teams who have declined to enter the formula one series in 2010. Photograph: Crispin Thruston/Action Images

The Formula One Teams' Association, Fota, has sensationally confirmed it is to form a breakaway series, causing the greatest upheaval in the sport's 60-year history. Following a four-hour meeting last night of the eight teams that currently form Fota - Ferrari, McLaren, Renault, Toyota, BMW Sauber, Brawn GP, Red Bull Racing and Toro Rosso - they have all declined to enter formula one for 2010. Only Williams and Force India have done so.

Despite weeks of negotiations with the FIA president, Max Mosley, the two bodies have failed to find a compromise, leaving the sport's leading teams frustrated at Mosley's stance. Last night they decided they had no option but to break away and launch a rival series.

Outlining the major differences with the FIA, and confirming their intentions, they said in a statement: "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."

Amid the global economic downturn Fota said it has already embarked on substantial cost-cutting. "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.