Find out more about our subscriptions

FOTA pushing ahead with breakaway

FOTAFormula 1 teams are pressing ahead with their plans for a breakaway championship next year, despite hope that a fresh push to tie a deal with the sport's commercial chiefs can bring an end to their troubles with the FIA.

Following the drama of Wednesday's walk out of a Technical Working Group meeting by eight members of the Formula One Teams' Association (FOTA) after they were told they could not have any input on future rules, fears about a rival series have resurfaced.

And although team bosses confirmed at the Nurburgring on Thursday that the breakaway plans were indeed back on the table because of the situation with the governing body, there is still some confidence that a deal to secure F1's future can be reached.

It is understood FOTA has decided to shift its efforts into securing a future deal onto working with commercial rights holders and sport owners CVC rather than dealing solely with the FIA.

BMW motorsport director Mario Theissen was optimistic that the progress with CVC to formalise a new binding Concorde Agreement could be completed soon, but the teams were not yet ready to call off the breakaway totally.

"It is very simple," he said when asked about the latest development in the FIA/FOTA battle. "There are still some irritating efforts which have surprised us. We still don't have an agreement, although I would say we are making progress - slowly but steadily.

"We cannot sit back and wait if there will be an agreement coming our way or not. So we have to keep all options open, and that means we have to look at the other course as well.

"We are in constant negotiations, and we might come to a conclusion, as the FIA indicates, in a few days - but it might take a few weeks. Or we might finally find out that there is no agreement, so we have to prepare for all possibilities."

FOTA insiders suggest that, in light of recent events, the teams are more determined than ever that FIA president Max Mosley sees through with his promise to step down from his position in October as was originally agreed in the Paris meeting last month.

It is suggested that the teams will make it clear to CVC that they will only commit to the Concorde Agreement if Mosley's departure is confirmed. That stance comes after Australian GP chief Ron Walker, a close ally of Bernie Ecclestone, called on Mosley to step down on Thursday.

Toyota F1 president John Howett, when asked if Mosley standing again as president would scupper a deal, said: "Without answering that directly, I would say that the commercial rights holder understands what is required to get our signatures on the Concorde Agreement, and the agreement with them is very close. We just need to see and wait what happens."

FOTA is unruffled by the FIA's latest stance regarding their stand-off, and sources suggest that the body was keen to 'ignore' the latest press release from the governing body detailing the background to the discussions between them. Instead, FOTA wants to focus on nailing down the situation with CVC that will secure F1's future.

Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner said: "The teams are very close to finding agreement with the commercial rights holder regarding a new Concorde Agreement.

"Obviously there is a bit of turbulence at the moment with the FIA, and I am hoping common sense will ultimately prevail and ultimately we can find a solution very shortly."

Speaking about how unclear the picture was, with a Concorde deal close yet relations between the FIA and FOTA troubled, Horner said: "It is a bit confusing.

"It was a great shame that that position was taken regarding the TWG meeting because it wasn't particularly constructive to signing off regulations that we are pretty much in line with and agree with. So, I just hope that common sense will prevail and a solution can be found in the near future.

"The devil is in the detail with all these things, but I think that significant progress has been made since Silverstone, although there has been a bit of turbulence along the way. I am hopeful of a solution and I think we are not far off from seeing an end to this unhealthy situation for F1."

Horner said that he hoped the teams would not be forced to go ahead with their breakaway championship, although said there would be no qualm about launching it if a deal could not be reached with CVC.

"I think the thing that was compelling after the breakaway was announced was the amount of support that was forthcoming, that was pushing the teams to say yes, you've done the right thing, go ahead," he explained.

"Ultimately for F1, there does need to be a solution, it does need to be the F1 world championship and the breakaway, ultimately nobody would benefit from unless a solution genuinely cannot be found.

"But in this paddock nothing is out of the question, so I don't think you can rule it totally out. The intention is to try and find a position that everybody can live with."

With the latest row between the FIA and FOTA having renewed the breakaway fears just a fortnight after it appeared a deal was in place, Howett said he was sorry fans were facing more political wrangling.

However, he was confident that the situation would end in a solution that was positive.

"All we have to do is apologise to the public at the moment, but they should trust us," he said. "We know exactly where we are going, we have got the alternative still on the table and we are making positive progress with the important parties."

  More news  
Read the AUTOSPORT Digital Edition
Visit the shop
See highlights from 60 years of AUTOSPORT
Breaking news feed
Live commentary feed
Williams and Force India rejoin FOTA
Melbourne won't host 'half an F1 race'
Melbourne could pull out over F1 rows
FIA: FOTA was aware of observer status
FOTA says FIA putting F1 in jeopardy
FOTA teams walk out of FIA meeting
FIA: FOTA can't finalise rules by itself
Williams hopes to return to FOTA
Howett pleased with FIA resolution
Di Montezemolo hails Mosley contribution
FOTA teams call off breakaway series
FIA confirms 2010 F1 entry list
Mosley: Peace agreed in Formula 1
Analysis: All eyes on Paris
Mosley ready to run for re-election
Briatore: Time for deal has passed
Ecclestone won't let F1 'disintegrate'
FOTA denies compromise deal is close
Mosley open to talks with FOTA
Q & A with Ross Brawn
FOTA beginning work on new series
Mosley not expecting quick resolution
FOTA series could attract new teams
Mosley unlikely to step down amid crisis
Button: Staying with top teams is priority
Mosley believes split unlikely to happen
Ferrari stays silent on FIA's legal threat
Theissen: FOTA left with no choice
FIA to launch legal action against FOTA
Force India waiting on F1 future
Ecclestone urged to broker peace deal
Fry: FIA talks conducted in good faith
Horner: F1 future now in FIA's hands
FIA blames factions in FOTA for split
FOTA teams to launch breakaway series
FOTA to meet to discuss FIA response
Mosley outlines deal offer to teams
Mosley offers deal but deadline stands
FOTA urges for compromise in row
The full statement from the FIA
FIA: FOTA trying to control F1 rules
FIA says 40m budget cap going ahead
FOTA: No comment on FIA statement
FIA 'surprised' by ACEA's calls
Brawn: Formula 1 must learn from row
FIA: FOTA members preventing deal
ACEA wants change to F1 governance
FOTA vows to change 'bad' FIA rules
FOTA seeking 'sensible governance'
FOTA asks WMSC to intervene in F1 row
Formula 1 awaits 2010 entry list
Mosley to meet with teams today
Hill warns F1 not to repeat IRL mistake
Ecclestone would fight breakaway series
FIA hints at progress as FOTA responds
Schumacher: F1 needs manufacturers
FOTA plans response to Mosley
Manufacturers could face legal challenge
Mosley: FOTA should enter to shape F1
Massa: Formula 1 row a nightmare
Mallya wants FOTA suspension reversed
Drivers support FOTA in F1 future row
Drivers and FOTA discuss F1 crisis
Brawn pledges commitment to FOTA
Briatore baffled by FIA/FOTA row
Force India lodges unconditional entry
Force India facing FOTA suspension
Q & A with Mario Theissen
Start your own series, Mosley tells FOTA
Q & A with John Howett
Howett: Unity will make F1 stronger
Q & A with Stefano Domenicali
Domenicali: Entries not a climbdown
Exclusive Q & A with John Howett
FOTA teams submit F1 entries for 2010
FOTA agrees on plan to help new teams
Parr: Williams not trying to split FOTA
Williams team suspended by FOTA
McLaren feels 'peacemaker' in FIA row
Williams submits F1 entry for 2010
Teams demand FIA ditch 2010 rules
Mosley: Cost cap solution in sight
Teams continue work on F1 agreement
Fry: Talks have made good progress
Teams fail to reach agreement with FIA
Santander confident of F1 agreement
Di Montezemolo: F1 teams are united
Ecclestone warns Ferrari of legal action
Theissen urges teams to remain positive
Ecclestone worried Ferrari may leave F1
Q & A with Kimi Raikkonen
Raikkonen pledges future to Ferrari
FIA welcomes verdict, criticises Ferrari
Ferrari board to discuss F1 future