Mercedes' vice-president of motorsport Norbert Haug has said that it is important that the F1 teams' association FOTA emerges unscathed from the defection of both Ferrari and Red Bull Racing in the past week.
News broke of the two front-running teams' decision to quit their place in the ranks late last week, with the thorny subject of the Resource Restriction Agreement understood to be at the heart of the move, even though both teams insist that they remain committed to controlling the cost of competing in the top flight. HRT is already on the outside of FOTA, leaving just nine of the sport's twelve teams on board.
Although the group has done a lot to push cost-cutting forward in F1, the split will undoubtedly weaken the unity that FOTA has shown in the face of pressure from the likes of Bernie Ecclestone and the FIA to push through changes, and Haug has understandably called for the remaining members to work together to find a solution to the RRA issue.
"I think it is absolutely vital that FOTA is existing," he told reporters during a conference call to discuss Mercedes adopting the AMG brand into its official F1 title, "The aims that we are having, the targets, are very important and I think it is up to the so-called top teams to really balance it out."
Mercedes team CEO Nick Fry confirmed that, in his opinion, all twelve teams remained in favour of lowering the cost of competition, and would continue to work towards a common goal despite the newly-formed factions.
"It's obviously quite a difficult time at the moment and clearly we, Mercedes AMG, are very supportive of cost control in F1," Fry concluded, "It's a difficult thing to achieve when everyone is so competitive, but we certainly will work with others to try and fulfil the aim of an RRA. I think that, even though Ferrari have withdrawn at the moment, they also are intent on finding a solution to this. We've certainly hit a bump in the road but I believe that work will continue in the background to try and resolve this and we will do whatever we can to support that."
The RRA has come under scrutiny amid claims that some teams - notably including Ferrari and Red Bull - were finding ways around the budget limitations. Although all teams have denied that they are at fault, the issue has remained a potential obstacle to ongoing unity, even though all remain in favour of its basic tenets.