New push for FOTA-style Formula 1 teams' union
|By Anthony Rowlinson and Dieter Rencken||Wednesday, February 15th 2017, 12:53 GMT|
Leading Formula 1 teams are in the early stages of creating a new 'FOTA-style' body to protect their financial interests and regulatory advantages following the takeover by Liberty Media.
Autosport has learned that a senior F1 team figure is leading moves to gather support for a body that would act collectively to secure the strongest financial position and benefits for teams currently protected by the 'Constructors' Championship Bonus'.
The CCB applies to Mercedes, Red Bull Racing, Ferrari and McLaren and guarantees that those teams receive preferential financial payments from F1's commercial rights holder.
Any move to create a new teams' body would be potentially divisive.
Liberty, which takes control through the newly formed Formula One Group, has identified F1's inequitable payments system as both unfair and a source of conflict, and it has targeted it for reform.
That position would appear to place Liberty at odds with some of the CCB teams and has the potential to give rise to financial disputes.
Existing arrangements with the Bernie Ecclestone-led Formula One Management earned those four teams a 65% share of total team payments, with only 35% being paid out between the remainder.
While none of the senior team figures contacted by Autosport would confirm on the record that moves are being made to create a new teams' association, none denied that conversations between the teams were already taking place.
One, who did not wish to be named, admitted: "We are prepared to engage in team meetings and discussions, but the progress of those talks may necessarily be somewhat fraught, and [certain CCB teams] may attempt to protect privileged positions."
But he added: "We must all work together for the good of F1 by helping Formula One Group."
The original Formula One Teams Association (FOTA) was formed in 2008 to act as a collective voice at a time when political disputes over how F1 was run by FOM and governing body the FIA had become exceptionally bitter.
It was disbanded in 2014 amid waning interest and various breakaways in the wake of deals struck by FOM and CCB teams.
It is unclear how any new body would serve the interests of all teams, rather than acting to serve the interests of the teams that already take the greatest share of F1's revenue.
One independent team boss speculated there could ultimately be two 'FOTAs' - one for the CCB teams and another representing independent interests.