Having finally broken his silence, Martin Whitmarsh has accused F1 of not having done enough to entice new teams into the sport and of never having sufficiently prioritised its fans - two failings he is confident the Formula One Teams' Association will be able to remedy in its new breakaway series next year, as he gave credence to the whispers that FOTA is trying to lure rejected 2010 entries like Prodrive, Lola and N.Technology to join their club instead.

The Silverstone paddock was rocked early on Friday morning with the announcement that FOTA - following a breakdown in talks with the FIA on the subject of the controversial budget cap and Max Mosley's increasingly autocratic and arbitrary method of governance - is pressing ahead with its threat to organise a separate championship of its own away from Mosley's much-criticised jurisdiction.

Though it is widely believed that the saga is still far from at an end - with further 'crisis' talks continuing throughout the day and expected to carry on over the course of the British Grand Prix weekend - Whitmarsh is positive that if no quarter is given and FOTA pursues its alternative path, it will be the new series, rather than F1, that emerges on top, telling the BBC: "I don't think there will be two premier racing championships - all I can say is that there will be a championship next year and that the major names that have historically been involved in motor racing will be racing together, and I think that will be recognised as the major championship."

"McLaren-Mercedes wants to race at the pinnacle of motorsport," he added in Friday's press conference. "We want to race with all the big names, the stars, the history and the heritage of this sport. Clearly the pressures that exist within the sport were in danger of really dividing most of those names between two camps, [but] I think it was clear that the majority of us wanted to be together. We want transparent governance [and] we want one tier of regulations, and perhaps a philosophical difference as to the future of the sport.

"I think there have been tremendous efforts from many people to try and find compromise, to find a way forward, but time pressures were placed on the teams and under those pressures we had to make a decision. We were heading whatever happened, it seemed in the last few days, towards a split. A decision had to be made and the teams within FOTA have come together. We have had clearly two teams that have slightly different positions from the majority, but the majority of teams have worked together incredibly well.

"Since FOTA was formed in September - the first time that all of the teams in the sport have come together in the history of Formula 1 - we have worked to try and bring down the costs. There is no doubt that the initiatives that came from FOTA have been the most significant in the history of the sport. We have got certain teams here today that wouldn't be here but for FOTA. We have put forward a structure to further reduce costs. Everyone wants to reduce costs - there is no doubt that costs were running away in Formula 1.

"FOTA's position isn't that we don't want to save money. Plainly we do. We have put forward proposals and mechanisms by which all of the teams believed that was possible and had already made that progress, but ultimately we are very close in many things and that is perhaps the sad thing. If you look at FOTA's position and you look at the position of the FIA there are a lot of areas where there are very many common views, and yet ultimately perhaps because of relationships or whatever we were unable to come together. A deadline was placed upon the teams, and consequently we had to make a decision.

"I think we couldn't reach a point where all the FOTA members were prepared to dive into a championship without certainty in terms of the Concorde Agreement, in terms of the governance, in terms of the regulations. I think there was a strong feeling that we want to try and stay together, we want to be inclusive, we want to keep as many involved as we could have done. I think any of the teams had the choice and the opportunity at various times to break away and to sign up, but I think we knew that in doing that, we would be irreparably fracturing the group that currently competes in Formula 1 and I think that would be very, very damaging. The view at the end was that we want to race against all the big names that are involved in Formula 1 today - and the path that we've chosen at the moment represents the best chance of us achieving that.

"To take a positive view, the teams are working together, I think, in the most productive way certainly in the 20 years I have been involved in the sport. We look forward to racing with as many teams as we can next year. I think certainly eight teams would be enough, but we would welcome any new teams or existing teams for that matter - I think a lot of the teams want to be racing against the Ferraris, Red Bulls, the Brawns and hopefully ourselves.

"Clearly we have had already in the last few hours quite a lot of interest from some other teams that want to be part of this series, and we are going to do everything we can to encourage them to be part of it. Just as FOTA has already demonstrated its commitment to retaining teams and assisting the independent teams, I think that has got to be part of the ethos of any new organisation. There's been a lot of interest and a lot of support voiced for the teams, and we are inviting all those that participate at the moment and any new entrant to participate in what we believe will be the pinnacle of motorsport. We're open to any way forward.

"Formula 1 has not done a good job in my view of developing the number of teams that compete and of developing a series which is focussed on what the fans want - and I think there is a lot of opportunity to do a better job and to have some fresh energy. Whilst inevitably there is some sadness in a day like this, I think you have got to be optimistic about the future. I think sometimes out of these changes, out of these challenges, are new eras, new opportunities and we have got to be positive.

"I don't feel ashamed of the situation. The teams I think have the right values. We are looking to the future of the sport, to seek, to build and develop it for the fans and everyone who is involved with it. We are looking to create stability. I think in Formula 1 in recent years there has not been the stability that we should have; there hasn't been the clarity of what the championship should be for the fans. That is not pointing the finger at anyone - we have all been part of it. Some of us feel that we have got to do a better job than we have done in the past. Clearly lots of mistakes have been made in the evolution and development of Formula 1, but I think we have taken a positive step to say that we are committed to racing together."

The Englishman also sought to stress that 'Formula 1 squabbling amongst itself is not a positive message' and that - echoing the thoughts of the top flight's millions of fans all around the globe, no doubt - the best remedy is to swiftly return the focus to the action on the track rather than all the fractious and highly damaging political wrangling and in-fighting away from it. He insisted that it is 'not the intention' of FOTA to 'prejudice' the weekend's racing or deflect from what is developing into a 'great championship' - and recognised that 'we owe it to the public and the fans to put on as good a show as we can'.

Moreover, whilst cautioning that it would be 'premature' to talk about any details of the new FOTA championship yet before the dust has even settled from an explosive day, Whitmarsh did concede that there have been lots of 'ideas and suggestions' as well as 'tinges of excitement and concern' - and unquestionably 'a lot of work ahead of us, and that's a challenge'. He also argued that the double-diffuser row earlier this year had been a 'strong test' of FOTA's unity - and one that it had successfully overcome, which he contended augured well for the organisation's capability of succeeding in its new venture.

"The fact is that FOTA survived the tensions that arose from that," the 51-year-old underlined. "We've all got opinions - whether it's right, wrong, should have been allowed, shouldn't have been allowed - but I think everyone accepted that all the teams acted in good faith. It's something that could and should have been clarified earlier but out of it came, I think, the realisation that the teams ultimately have a lot of common interest on the same side of the table, that actually our goals are very similar, our approach to the sport is very similar. We're very fortunate, all of us here, to be involved in this sport, and there's a developing camaraderie within FOTA which is certainly unique in my experience. In 20 years it's unprecedented.

"The manufacturer teams and some of the bigger teams made big compromises, I think, big efforts to reach out to the independent teams to assist during the first phases of FOTA. Inevitably, when you've got a Toyota involved in Formula 1 and you've got a Toro Rosso at the other end, finding a compromise between those companies at either end of quite a large spectrum is a big challenge. Unless there's goodwill and co-operation you won't find that accommodation, and I think it's been fantastic what's been achieved within FOTA. I think it's going from strength-to-strength.

"I think people knew the scale of the decisions that were being taken (on Thursday night) and I think people came out of it feeling incredibly positive about what's been achieved and with a real belief that, by working together, we can make the sport greater and better than it's ever been."