FOTA/RRA RIP?

I think it’s fair to say that Formula 1 will never win a Nobel Peace Prize. It is difficult to remember a time when one team wasn’t warring with another over the legality of their cars, or the teams versus Bernie over a greater share of the revenues.

When Tony Fernandez and Danny Bahr kissed and made up after the Lotus vs Lotus High Court battle, the world of F1 seemed to at peace with its self, sadly not so. Bubbling away under the surface, the facade of unity that is The Formula One Teams Association,(FOTA) was slowly crumbling into chaos over the Resource Restriction Agreement (RRA). Accusations have regularly been aimed at Red Bull in particular towards the end of the season that they had broken this key agreement in reducing the costs of F1.

Now, Ferrari, Red Bull, Sauber and HRT have all resigned from the organisation, leaving its future in severe doubt.

Interestingly, two distinct battle lines are developing in this row Between the Red Bull/Ferrari influenced teams and the Mercedes/McLaren influenced teams. Hot on the heels of Ferrari tending their resignation, Sauber soon followed suit, who are a Ferrari customer team, using their engines, gear boxes, KERS and have given a seat to Ferrari junior driver, Sergio Perez. It can only be a matter of time before Torro Rosso join the growing list of teams leaving FOTA. Like sister team RBR, they are owned by Red Bull and are also a Ferrari customer for their engines. This would leave Caterham as the last team with strong Red Bull links in FOTA. The team formally known as Team Lotus will use Red Bull, KERS and gear boxes in 2012.

On the other side of the battle line, you have Mercedes and McLaren, who seem to be doing the most to keep FOTA together, pushing forward the new agreement despite of the high-profile exits. McLaren may exert influence over Force India and Marussia through the technical partnerships they have in place, as do Mercedes through their engine supply to McLaren and Force India.

This leaves the newly re-named Lotus team and Williams, both of which are struggling to find budgets in the short-term and are likely to stick with FOTA if it survives at all.

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