Two weeks on from F1's high rollers suggesting that the unity of the teams' association may be under threat amid disagreements over the Resource Restriction Agreement, the sport's lesser lights have attempted to play down talk of a split.
Gathered at the second FIA press conference of the Indian Grand Prix
weekend, Toro Rosso's Franz Tost, Force India's Vijay Mallya, Williams' Adam Parr and Sauber's Monisha Kaltenborn all denied that there were fears of the bigger teams exploiting the RRA and that the agreement just needed a little tweaking to ensure that it continues to police spending in the top flight.
"Firstly, I don't think there is any evidence that anybody is not respecting the RRA, and I think that is very important," Parr commented, "There may be rumours, but there is no evidence of that, so I think, from a team perspective, we must trust our colleagues. The second point is that everybody that you talk to in F1 wants cost controls. I met with Christian [Horner] yesterday, I met with Stefano [Domenicali], [and] they are adamant that they want those controls.
"Now, the question is what is the best way to achieve that and I think that a number of teams would agree, whatever their perspective is, that we can do better than we are doing now in having a good process. Which is not very surprising because it is relatively new and it is relatively difficult and I think, therefore, what is essential now is to get the teams together, which we will do in Abu Dhabi, to work out how to strengthen and move things forward. But there is no disagreement about the need to do this or the desire to do it."
Mallya, like his peers, agreed with Parr's comments, suggesting that all twelve teams - including non-FOTA member HRT - were in pursuit of the same goal.
"I think Adam has summed it up very well, [and] I will go along with what he says," the Indian billionaire said, "There's no evidence that anybody is busting the agreement and there's certainly no signs of cracks within FOTA that would leave the entire Resource Restriction plan to blow up. I think everyone – even from the biggest team owner down to the smallest team owner – everybody wants to spend money wisely and not waste money, so if there is any way in which all the teams participating in F1 can be efficient, can reduce their costs and yet have fun competing and be competitive, I think that's the way forward."
With all four team representatives claiming that their respective operations were running within the limitations of the RRA, it was interesting to note that none favoured allowances suggested by one member of the media that could make the weaker teams more competitive.
"First of all, we don't expect any favours on the track, and I think it would be inappropriate to ask or suggest that," Parr pointed out, "Where I do think the sport needs to work together is off the track and that includes the economics. So, while I don't think we should get any advantage, I think that as a sport, as we discussed earlier, having a sensible control over the total spending is logical, I think."
Tost, meanwhile, denied that extra testing or other freedoms, would automatically transform a struggling backmarker or midfielder into a frontrunner.