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2014-03-03 09:36

NO MORE FAN FORUM: F1's Fota group has been disbanded, leaving the sport's fans with no platform to interact with drivers. Here Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel chats to fans in ahead of the Indian 2013 Formula 1 GP. Image: AFP


LONDON, England - The Formula 1 Teams' Association has been disbanded because it remaining members decided it was no longer needed as a representative body.

A Fota statement said the teams had "re-evaluated their requirements in the face of a changing political and commercial landscape in F1".

General secretary Oliver Weingarten told Reuters there had been financial issues with unpaid subscriptions; he also warned the sport was facing "a crisis or two around the corner" without the association.

A Fota document seen by Reuters listed activities through 2013 that benefited all teams, among them negotiations with circuits for testing and with tyre-supplier Pirelli about branding issues.


The organisation was formed in 2008 to give teams a united voice in negotiations with commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone and the governing International Automobile Federation. However that unity broke in 2011 when season champion Red Bull, along with Ferrari and Sauber, quit because of disagreement about cost-cutting. Only seven of the 11 teams were officially in Fota in 2013.

The group was led by McLaren principal Martin Whitmarsh, who has lost control of that team since his predecessor Ron Dennis regained charge, and Lotus principal Eric Boullier who has now joined McLaren.

The top teams are now in an F1 strategy group set up under the terms of the new 'Concorde Agreement', the document which governs the sport, agreed with Ecclestone and the FIA. That group met on Friday.

Fota's disappearance may be missed most of all by regular fans, with the body organising popular forums ahead of some races with drivers and team officials answering questions from the public.

Weingarten said: "The reaction from fans has been one of shock on coming to terms with the fact they may lose a point of contact for interacting with the sport through the fan forums."

Stay with Wheels24 for the 2014 F1 season – fresh reports every day.

Read more on:    sauber  |  red bull  |  ferrari  |  bernie eccelstone  |  england  |  racing  |  f1  |  motorsport

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