Eight of its 10 teams have confirmed they will form a breakaway series after a row over budget caps
So I was invited to this bash thrown by a man who hobnobs with people who hobnob with people who hobnob with Vijay Mallya. Aware that the Bangalore baron had recently visited Monte Carlo, I decided to familiarise myself with the goings-on in the world of Formula One and Force India.
Those, like me, who don’t keep track of these terribly important things, won’t know the Formula One drivers’ championship is in crisis. Eight of its 10 teams have confirmed they will form a breakaway series. The move is set to cause the greatest upheaval in the sport’s 60-year history since the emergence of Bernie Ecclestone.
The eight teams that make up Formula One Teams Association (FOTA), a pressure group, have declined to enter F1 for 2010, after a row over budget caps. “It’s clear that the teams cannot continue to compromise on the fundamental values of the sport. The major drivers, stars, brands, sponsors, promoters and companies historically associated with the highest level of motor sport will all feature in this new series,” said a FOTA statement last week.
FOTA is made up of Ferrari, McLaren, Renault, Toyota, BMW Sauber, Brawn GP, Red Bull Racing and Toro Rosso. Williams and Force India have been suspended from the association, and are not part of the breakaway plan.
The row began last year as FOTA disputed Federation Internationale de L’Automobile’s (FIA’s) plans to enforce budget caps and technical changes in 2010. Despite weeks of talks with FIA president Max Mosley, the two bodies have failed to arrive at an agreement, leaving the cash-strapped sport in complete chaos.
Names and acronyms to drop from time to time: FIA, FOTA, the controversial FIA president Max Mosley, and the F1 commercial rights holder Bernie Ecclestone. Note: please try and pronounce Bernie’s surname correctly.
Quote hanger: “My marriage broke up because of Formula One. So I am sure as hell not going to let things disintegrate over what is, in the end, basically nothing. If you analyse all the problems—there aren’t any that can’t be easily solved.” Bernie Ecclestone sums up the ongoing F1 crisis.