Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has been chosen to lead the Formula One Teams' Association (FOTA), formed following a meeting held with F1 ringmaster Bernie Ecclestone and Donald McKenzie, representing commercial partners CVC, at the Scuderia's
Maranello headquarters earlier this week [see separate story – click here
The new body was established with unanimous support to enable all ten F1 teams to work together with governing body the FIA and Ecclestone's company Formula One Management on commercial, technical and regulatory conditions, as the sport looks towards the future.
Though a Ferrari spokesman insisted in the immediate aftermath of the reunion that no figurehead had been selected for the forum, German magazine Sport Bild
has revealed that di Montezemolo – who also presided over the Tuesday meeting – will be the official FOTA spokesman for the next twelve months.
There is no current Concorde Agreement – the contract stipulating the commercial and financial details by which the teams compete, including prize money and television revenues – following the expiry of the last one at the end of 2007 and the failure to come to terms for a new one. The formation of FOTA is the first step in a bid to reach a satisfactory resolution for the years ahead, as well as burying any threat of a breakaway grand prix series, an alternative that has been mooted in recent months.
The meeting came about off the back of a letter sent by Max Mosley back at the start of July, in which the FIA President gave the teams until October to conduct a 'wide-ranging consultation' to come up with their own proposals and measures for radically changing the way that F1 is run and improving the sport's environmental image, cutting costs and fuel emissions and embellishing the overall spectacle – or else have the rules made up for them.
A new Concorde Agreement would likely give the teams not just more money, but also more say in the rule-making process and safeguard their own interests – a move that has clearly found favour with team principals.
“Formula 1 needs redesigning,” Renault managing director Flavio Briatore told Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport
. “The Concorde Agreement, the number of races, the costs, the spectacle, the imperative increase of revenues…
“I feel that it should be down to the teams to decide, by electing in turns a director of operations – a guy who does things, not a PR person.
“His (Mosley's) absence is felt as there's no project for F1. The teams feel abandoned.”
Mosley, for his part, underlined that he both thinks and hopes a new Concorde Agreement is not far away, and has in the past stated his belief that the sport is 'unsustainable' in the current climate of ever-rising costs.