Team principals: Ross Brawn (Brawn GP), Christian Horner (Red Bull Racing), Adam Parr (Williams F1), Martin Whitmarsh (McLaren-Mercedes)

Press conference:
Q:
Just one question from me. What is your position regarding the current situation in Formula One? Christian, can I start with you please.

Christian Horner:
Right. It has obviously been a busy 24 hours but I think it obviously dates back well beyond that. We have effectively reached a position of stalemate between FOTA and the FIA. I think a huge amount of effort has been made by the teams to try and find a compromise because at the end of the day we do have a duty of care to the people that we sit here and represent, the employees, to the fans, to the sponsors and to the public. The intention and effort was to try and find a compromise, a solution.

As I say we find ourselves in a position of stalemate and the decisions that were made that resulted in the press release that you all saw this morning weren't taken lightly and after a lot of deliberation that was the position that collectively the teams arrived at. Whilst it was a difficult decision to make I think unfortunately we have found ourselves in a situation that the conditions of the entries that we looked to put in have been effectively rejected and I think the teams reached the stage where they felt they could go no further. Therefore, as I say, we have effectively reached a stalemate and we are faced with the situation where we either stop or we look at something else.

Certainly from a Red Bull perspective we want to race against the best teams, against the best drivers, with the best sponsors in the world. If that cannot be Formula One then we will have to consider what the alternative is but being ever the optimist I think we have gone as far as we can.

We have reached this position and that is where we are today. Situations can change but that is certainly where we are.

Ross Brawn:
Well, I think after the shock of Honda leaving Formula One there was a lot of concern that we reacted in a correct way and we started with the correct initiatives or intensified those initiatives as in fairness there were a lot of initiatives already started by the teams I think with general support from the FIA. The engine manufacturers within FOTA had introduced the eight million Euro engine and next year it is five million Euros, so for my team that is a godsend. There were a lot of initiatives already underway and perhaps with the economic environment there was a need to review those initiatives and see if we could intensify them but in a structured way and a balance needed to be kept because there were many reasons whey Honda left Formula One but it was not only an economic argument.

There was a strategic argument as well and the reaction needed to be the correct reaction. In our view it did not need to be as dramatic as occurred and that is really where the differences of opinion have come in the dramatic reaction the FIA felt was necessary in the circumstances to protect Formula One. I think the balance between the opinion of the teams and the FIA has been different and it has been difficult to reconcile those differences and in trying to reconcile those differences the relationships have suffered.

At the present time there is a very difficult relationship between the teams whose, I think, genuine ambition is not to take over Formula One but the teams have a massive investment in Formula One and they want their investment respected. Formula One doesn't belong to the teams. I don't believe it belongs to Formula One. It belongs to the people. Formula One belongs to all of us. It is not something which is owned by anybody. It is like the Olympic Games, the World Cup.

It is an entity in itself. It needs respecting and nurturing and it needs to be developed. Really the teams do not share the same opinion as the FIA in the way that it needs to be developed and we have ended up with a situation where some teams have now entered Formula One with a different set of regulations to what the other teams wish to race under, with in fairness a proposal from the FIA to change those regulations again but no guarantee that those regulations can change.

They have to be changed with the consent of the teams that are already in Formula One, so we are saying 'come and join us and we will change the rules again' but what guarantees do we have. It is a very difficult situation. We want to find solutions but if we can't find solutions we will have to find another championship to race in.

Martin Whitmarsh:
I think Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, which is the team I represent, wants to race at the pinnacle of motorsport. It wants to race with all of the teams that are represented here, including Adam. We want to race with all the big names, the stars, the history and the heritage of this sport. Clearly the pressures that exist within the sport were in danger of really dividing most of those names between two camps. I think last night it was clear that the majority of us wanted to be together. We wanted to be at the pinnacle of motorsport.

We want transparent governance. We want one tier of regulations and perhaps a philosophical difference as to the future of the sport. I think there have been tremendous efforts from many people to try and find compromise, to find a way forward but time pressures were placed on the teams and under those pressures we had to make a decision. A decision had to be made today and the teams within FOTA have come together. We have had clearly two teams that have slightly different positions from the majority but the majority of teams have worked together incredibly well.

Since FOTA was formed in September, the first time that all of the teams in the sport have come together in the history of Formula One, we have worked to try and bring down the costs. There is no doubt that the initiatives that came from FOTA have been the most significant in the history of the sport. We have got certain teams here today that wouldn't be here but for FOTA. We have put forward a structure to further reduce costs. Everyone wants to reduce costs.

There is no doubt that costs were running away in Formula One. FOTA's position isn't that we don't want to save money. Plainly we do. We have put forward proposals and mechanisms by which all of the teams believed that was possible and had already made that progress but ultimately we are very close in many things and that is perhaps the sad thing. If you look at FOTA's position and you look at the position of the FIA there are a lot of areas where there are very many common views and yet ultimately perhaps because of relationships or whatever we were unable to come together.

A deadline was placed upon the teams and consequently we had to make a decision and in fairness to the FIA we had to come forward with our view on that. To take a positive view the teams are working together I think in a most productive way certainly in the 20 years I have been involved in the sport. We look forward to racing with as many teams as we can next year.

Adam Parr:
Williams is a Formula One team.

Q:
Is that all you are saying?

AP:
That's all there is to say.

Questions from the floor:

Q:
To one or all three of the FOTA members. You will be aware probably that within the last half an hour the FIA have issued legal proceedings against all eight FOTA teams.

I just wondered if I could get your thoughts on that first of all. And just beyond that how much has that further damaged the credibility of the sport?

RB:
I think it is quite difficult for us. We have not seen the details of what has happened. I don't want to avoid the question but it is quite difficult for us to answer as we heard just as we were coming into the press conference that that had happened. I think we need to understand what has happened but unfortunately I don't think any of this episode of what is going on at the moment in the short term helps the sport. We all know that. It is just perhaps with a vision of better things that we are prepared to go through it.

MW:
I think it is important that we do not get drawn here. We are at an FIA grand prix and we should respect the fact that a press conference is given here and therefore as Ross said, one we don't know the facts and two, I think it isn't the most appropriate format to comment on. I think certainly Formula One squabbling amongst itself is not a positive message. I think we have got to get to try and get to a point where we are concentrating on what happens out there on the tarmac and I think we should avoid getting into an examination of the correspondence that may be going backwards and forwards between FOTA and the FIA.

CH:
I completely agree with Ross and Martin. I can only sympathise with the public who must be, as Formula One fans, confused and to a certain degree dismayed with what is currently going on. We have got a wonderful championship this year. It is Silverstone's last Formula One grand prix and to have politics that are difficult for the general public to comprehend and understand and Formula One should be all about what happens on the track. I think it has taken up far too much of not only our time but other people's time. We have reached the situation we are in. I think it is impossible for us to comment.

I haven't seen what has been provided by the FIA. I think it is a great shame and certainly from our perspective we have got a race to run this weekend. We are determined to try and stop Jenson Button winning yet another race. That is where our focus now immediately turns to and that's for every member of our team. We owe that to the fans, to the public and to Silverstone at what is an important weekend.

Q:
Adam, on a commercial level how important is it for you as a team to be racing against Ferrari and McLaren? How hard is it going to be for you to go to sponsors and say we want your money but we are racing against Campos, US F1 and Manor?

AP:
Well, I think that it is going to be very difficult to raise sponsorship revenues in the future but it has always been difficult in the past. I think one of the reasons why we are doing what we are doing, which is trying to reduce costs in Formula One, is because nobody can sustain the spending that we have had in the past few years. It is simply ridiculous and we have to stop it.

Therefore we have supported both as a member of FOTA and now outside the measures that people want to take to reduce costs. That is essential. I don't think that this situation is good in our discussions with sponsors but I am hoping it will be resolved and I am hoping that nobody really intends to create a breakaway series as I don't think it is going to be good for anybody if that happens.

Q:
To the FOTA members. Your proposed championship. Will eight teams be enough to sustain a championship or will you be welcoming invites from other teams, perhaps the likes of Lola and Prodrive?

MW:
I think that certainly eight teams would be enough but we would welcome any new teams or existing teams for that matter. Certainly there has been an expression of interest from some of the names you just mentioned and I think a lot of the teams want to be racing against the Ferraris, Red Bulls, the Brawns and hopefully ourselves. Formula One has not done a good job in my view at developing the number of teams that compete and in developing a series which is focussed on what the fans want and I think there is a lot of opportunity to do a better job and to have some fresh energy.

Whilst inevitably there is some sadness in a day like today I think you have got to be optimistic about the future. I think sometimes out of these changes, out of these challenges, are new eras, new opportunities and we have got to be positive. But clearly we have had already in the last few hours quite a lot of interest from some other teams that want to be part of this series and we are going to do everything we can to encourage them to be part of it. I think just as FOTA has already demonstrated its assistance to retaining teams and assisting the independent teams I think that has got to be part of the ethos of any new organisation.

Q:
Were Max Mosley not the President or if he were to be removed fairly soon could this problem go away virtually overnight?

RB:
In no way is it a condition of the conditional entry that the FOTA teams have made that that is the case. It is not something we are pushing for or asking for. It has not entered the discussions. We have had a breakdown in relations and we need to find a way of getting back to a balance between the regulatory body and the competing teams.

CH:
I would endorse totally what Ross says. At no point has there ever been a condition from FOTA of anything along those lines. We have actively tried to engage with the FIA over the past few weeks to constructively find a solution. Mr Mosley represents the whole of the FIA, so this is not pointed personally at any individual.

 

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