Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali has admitted that he shares the same fears over the future of F1 teams' body FOTA as some of his pit-lane rivals, and urges all involved to find a resolution to current differences over the Resource Restriction Agreement.
Red Bull's Christian Horner has already expressed simialr concerns [HERE
], suggesting that if the eleven member teams - HRT opted out last season - cannot find common ground, the problem threatens to wreck the commendable unity FOTA has fostered in recent seasons.
Talks during the Korean Grand Prix weekend failed to make any headway, despite the likes of chairman Martin Whitmarsh and Mercedes' Ross Brawn advising that there cannot be a chasm between those teams that comfortably exist below the RRA and those that are now having to bite the bullet and curb their excesses in order to comply. Horner and Brawn both used the term 'crossroads' to describe the current impasse
, with Whitmarsh admitting that, while the agreement is far from perfect, it would be a shame for the teams to walk away from it because it appears too difficult to find a solution.
FOTA members are now scheduled to reconvene for further talks at the Abu Dhabi race early next month, and Domenicali warns that each of them needs to put aside issues of trust and their own vested interests in order to ensure that the group remains intact and able to withstand pressure from outside, with both Bernie Ecclestone and the FIA have been rebuffed by FOTA solidarity in recent years.
"In terms of cost cutting, we can no longer afford to continue like this," Domenicali told the AFP
news agency, "If there is no trust, there is no need to go forward. We know why FOTA was put together, so we need to understand whether we still need it. What are the objectives for the future of FOTA, if it has a future?"
With a new Concorde Agreement also on the horizon, any cracks in the FOTA framework will undoubtedly be seized upon by Ecclestone, who has achieved success in the past by dealing individually with teams, rather than having to wrestle with the might of FOTA. Domenicali, however, is quick to remind his contemporaries of what the teams' group has achieved, notably in ensuring that the sport of F1 survived into a global recession with twelve teams still on the grid.
“FOTA has played an incredible role in recent years,” he told the official Ferrari website, “Its achievements meant that this sport was able to tackle the global crisis in an efficient manner. The impetus that came under [Luca di] Montezemolo's presidency has been carried forward with diligence and dedication by Martin Whitmarsh, who is doing a great job.
"Clearly, at this stage however, we need to understand how to move forward without leading to suspicions and polemics, elements that are always present in such a competitive environment as F1.”