HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship series director Alan Gow has revealed that he is both 'surprised and disappointed' by the announcement that the British F3 International Series has elected not to join the TOCA package for the 2009 season.

F3 teams were reported to be looking into the possibility of moving to the BTCC paddock for the 2009 season with the lure of a stronger television package and bigger crowds compared to its current position as the joint headline act on a bill that also includes the British GT Championship and a number of events in mainland Europe.

During the discussions there was little comment from the BTCC regarding the situation, although current promoter Stephane Ratel was known to have put his proposed deal to the F3 teams during the Italian event at Monza.

With a decision then due to be taken by the teams in a matter of weeks, the announcement was duly made during the course of the Snetterton weekend that the Formula Three Association - FOTA - had extended its deal with Ratel for a further three years.

However, in a strongly worded statement, BTCC chief Gow revealed that the competing Formula 3 teams had already signed up to a contract that would have seen them become part of the TOCA package for the same three year period starting in 2009.

Although the Australian said he wouldn't pursue action against the F3 teams for electing to go against the deal agreed, he did make it clear that he would have 'no interest' in taking Formula 3 onto the BTCC package in the future.

"During the course of the 2007 season, I was approached by individual F3 team-owners who wished to explore the possibility of F3 joining the TOCA package (on a permanent basis) from either 2008 or 2009," he said.

"It should be made very clear from the outset that at no time did TOCA approach the F3 teams, either individually or collectively - it was solely those teams and their organisation whom instigated the approach and discussions. These negotiations progressed over the next few weeks to the stage where it was agreed that they would join the BTCC support races for a minimum period of 3 years, from 2009.

"As, collectively, the F3 teams did not have a legal-entity with which to enter into a formal agreement with ourselves, a new company (FOTA GB Ltd) was formed by the chairman of FOTA for that purpose. A legally binding contract was drawn-up with FOTA GB Ltd., on October 19th 2007 and signed thereafter by both organisations, to commit both parties to that 3 year period (2009, 2010, 2011).

"Another meeting was held between TOCA, BARC, FOTA GB and the major F3 team owners on 15th February 2008 in order to clarify some operational aspects of their participation in the TOCA package. The meeting concluded with FOTA GB, and those individual F3 team owners, again confirming and endorsing their participation in the TOCA package.

"In the intervening period, and right up until this date, my organisation has arranged substantial cash sponsorship/income arrangements for FOTA (amounting to a minimum of ?125,000) in order to enable them to run their series profitably and provide a solid financial base for their future. This we did without any obligation whatsoever to do so and without any financial benefit to ourselves, but purely as a matter of assistance and goodwill to those teams.

"We are now advised that the teams do not wish to proceed with what was clearly agreed between the parties and to ignore their commitments made to TOCA.

"We are extremely surprised and disappointed to learn that FOTA GB and those teams have chosen to completely neglect the undertakings they made to TOCA. However, for the good of F3, we will not pursue any action against them for disregarding their obligations...after all, we entered into this arrangement for their direct benefit and as a sole result of their instigation, rather than ours.

"However, it has underlined our view that we have absolutely no interest (either now or in the future) to deal with such a group of team owners, or organisation, whom are willing to completely ignore and/or show no inclination to fulfil their commitments - and have proven their total inability to properly organise themselves into a cohesive and workable alliance."

Comments

Loading Comments...