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Mercedes still firm on Fota

2011-12-07 08:03

LONDON, England - Efforts to reach a Formula 1 cost-cutting agreement will not be thrown off track by the "bump in the road" of Ferrari and Red Bull quitting Fota.

That, at least, is according to Mercedes team bosses after the two teams announced they had handing in their notice, leaving the Formula One Teams' Association with only nine members out of 12 teams. Tail-enders HRT quit in January, 2011.

The body was set up by all the teams to present a united front in negotiations with commercial rights holders and the governing IOnternational Auomobile Federatiion but top teams have been arguing over the shape of a renewed resource restriction agreement to control costs and create a flatter playing field for struggling smaller outfits.

'ABSOLUTELY VITAL'

Mercedes motorsport vice-president Norbert Haug told reporters during in a conference call to discuss his team's formal change of name from Mercedes GP to Mercedes AMG, that Fota still had a purpose.

"I think it is absolutely vital that Fota  exists," he declared, adding that the targets remained the same whether teams were in or outside the grouping. "The aims that we have, the targets, are very important. It is up to the so-called top teams to really balance it out."

Mercedes team CEO Nick Fry said Fota president Martin Whitmarsh, principal of Mercedes-powered McLaren, had done an excellent job; so had his Ferrari predecessor Luca di Montezemolo.

'DIFFICULT THING'

"It's obviously quite a difficult time," Fry said. "Clearly Mercedes AMG is very supportive of cost control in F1" The team has made a rash of high-profile technical signings recently.

"It's a difficult thing to achieve when everybody is so competitive but we certainly will work with others to try to fulfil the aim of an RRA.

"Even though Ferrari has withdrawn the team iis also intent on finding a solution. We've certainly hit a bump in the road but I believe work will continue in the background to try to resolve this - we'll do whatever we can to support that."

Reuters