That the Formula One Teams' Association stands on the brink of extinction is perhaps not surprising given the forces ranged against it. That the body managed to survive for over five years in the Piranha Club - as McLaren's Ron Dennis once so aptly described the Formula 1 paddock - bears testimony to the crucial need for such a foil against the oft-greedy excesses of the sport's commercial-rights holder CVC Capital Partners and to bring balance to the governance of this most complex of sports.
Formed as a collective bargaining union to counter the combined might of an FIA seemingly more sympathetic to the requirements of F1 tsar Bernie Ecclestone and the Formula One Group he headed, FOTA scored numerous early victories, including demands that the Concorde Agreement vest greater power in teams while simultaneously providing greater financial stability for the sport.
Unsaid, but nonetheless true, is that FOTA pushed then-FIA president Max Mosley - whose seeming joined-at-the-hip relationship with long-standing friend Ecclestone facilitated far from healthy domination of F1 - to the very brink of resignation from world motoring's top position by, in June 2009, threatening to execute its plans for a breakaway series unless Mosley about-turned on, frankly, ridiculous regulations.
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South African-born Dieter trained as industrial engineer before holding down a variety of senior motor industry marketing and manufacturing positions. At the age of 40 he decided to follow his passion, and became the first and only South African journalist to cover Formula 1 regularly. Dieter joined AtlasF1 at the beginning of 2004 – a year prior to its merger with Autosport – and his regular column offers an intriguing analysis of F1’s politicking and commercial chicanery. Although now also proudly Belgian, he gives his domicile as "Wherever F1 duplicity lurks".@RacingLines More features by Dieter Rencken