The Formula One Teams Association (FOTA) was founded in Maranello, Italy in July of 2008, which gives an idea of how committed Ferrari
has been to the organization. Originally founded to give teams a unified voice in discussions with both the FIA and The Formula One Group, FOTA has proven less than effective in making changes deemed beneficial to its membership.
In May 2009, the FOTA threatened a boycott of the 2010 season unless the FIA agreed to amend proposed changes to the sporting regulations. The FOTA committed to run its own "Grand Prix World Championship Series
" for the 2010 season, until the organization came to terms with the FIA in late June.
Until recently, the FOTA consisted of Williams, Virgin, Toro Rosso, Ferrari, Sauber, Lotus Renault, Mercedes, McLaren, Lotus
, Force India and Red Bull, but both Red Bull and Ferrari have now announced their departure from the organization. Ferrari cites a stalemate on issues such as the ability to apply Formula 1 technology to its production vehicles
, and the severe restrictions imposed on testing.
Limiting the number of test days not only hampers development, but can pose a potential safety risk for new drivers who simply can’t get enough seat time in F1 cars. It limits the exposure of new drivers as well, reducing their interaction with both fans and sponsors, and racing is dependent upon attracting and maintaining sponsors.
While the withdrawal of both Ferrari and Red Bull
doesn’t signal the end of the FOTA, it’s clear that the organization no longer has the influence its founders had intended. Don’t be surprised if other big-name teams follow suit in the near future.