F1's teams' organisation must remain united in the face of adversity - that is the shared view of both McLaren's Martin Whitmarsh and Ferrari's Luca di Montezemolo as FOTA faces the dual threat of RRA rebellion and dissatisfied backmarkers.

While di Montezemolo warns of the damage a split may cause, Whitmarsh, who combines his McLaren role with the FOTA chair, remained confident that unity could be achieved, despite the recent departure of Hispania Racing.

"If the teams know how to remain united and work in constructive fashion, as part of the virtuoso triangle alongside the FIA and the commercial rights holder, than this organisation has a future," he told journalists during Ferrasri's traditional pre-season Wrooom event in Italy.

"When I was president, it was a different more difficult time, whereas now the atmosphere is calmer. [However], the fact remains that F1 has to be the highest level of this sport, therefore there cannot be too big a gap between the big and small teams in terms of how competitive they are."

Although the teams' body remained united in the face of FIA-led regulation changes in 2009, cracks have begun to show in recent weeks, with HRT leaving amid claims that FOTA focuses to heavily on the monied outfits at the front of the field, and tension over suggestions that double champions Red Bull Racing broke the FOTA-negotiated Resource Restriction Agreement [RRA] by over-spending in pursuit of its success.

To make matters worse, RBR is also reportedly opposing a revised version of the RRA, which will take the sport through to 2017.

"I have heard these stories, but I don't know if they are true," di Montemezolo continued, admitting that the question marks over RBR underlined concerns that the RRA could not be adequately monitored.

"If they turn out to be correct, then it shows that our long-held view that we are against an artificial cap is the right one," the Italian commented, "It is impossible to run checks when, for example, there are companies involved which can manufacture in various countries.

"However, there are always polemical situations in F1. I am pleased to see that, after the Brawn GP comet and its titles which, might I say came with some technical 'drug taking', we then had another team taking both titles last year, one that is maybe not yet in the habit of winning. It's part of the game and it's great, but maybe, when others have won ten per cent of what Ferrari has won, then they can also have their say."

Despite FOTA's issues, Whitmarsh is adamant that the group could - and should - continue to work together for the good of everyone on the grid.

"F1 has some of the most competitive people in the world, and getting those people to work together is an interesting challenge," he told an audience at Autosport International.

"FOTA has achieved a lot so far, but there are lots of people who would like FOTA not to exist because/i> it unifies the teams.

"We have some issues, and it is not useful to talk about them in public, but we will power through those.

"The teams understand that a number of them would not be on the grid without FOTA - so there is a lot of goodwill and support for it. We will push the boundaries and come through it."

di Montezemolo's support was welcomed by Whitmarsh, despite the two teams bidding for the 2010 world title - with Red Bull.

"We have been at war. Ferrari and McLaren were at war for 30 years and sometimes it got out of control, [but] we all love F1, and we all recognise that F1 can be better. There is no point in just wanting it to be better - we have to take some responsibility.

"We have to help the small teams survive - and there is no point the large teams saying that they don't care what happens to the small teams. A lot of the teams would not be there if it wasn't for FOTA. We need at least ten teams - and preferably twelve teams.

"The great thing about this last championship was it was tremendously exciting and it went to the end. People were not talking about polemics and scandal in the race. It was a tough championship battle that they could concentrate on - and we are proud we could achieve it, but we hope to do it better this time."

Comments

Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register to add your comment