At the end of the 2010 season, HRT left the Formula One Teams’ Association (FOTA) as they felt it was irrelevant to them as a small team, and they felt that the politics favoured the larger teams. Today, following an ongoing dispute over the Resource Restriction Agreement (RRA) that the FOTA teams signed up to, two of those larger teams – Ferrari and Red Bull – have both made the decision to leave the association.
Founded in 2008, FOTA was intended to give teams a united voice in discussions with the FIA and the Formula One Group. The chairman is Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren’s Team Principal. Through FOTA, the current Concorde Agreement was negotiated.
The RRA is intended to curtail spending within the teams, specifically relating to the chassis. But the rules of the RRA were apparently not clear enough, and there have been many attempts by the teams to clarify it over the past months before it is time to re-negotiate the Concorde Agreement for 2013 and beyond.
In its statement, Ferrari said that it would continue to try and improve the RRA in F1. Its main reasons for leaving were a lack of testing, and making F1 more user friendly and accesible to the public. This last point seems strange coming from a team that has banned its drivers from using Twitter.
Red Bull have not confirmed that they are the second team to leave FOTA, but they have been the constructor with the most RRA issues.
What does this entail for the future of F1? Well, it is likely that we will see more in-season testing from these three teams. Others may also chose to leave FOTA. This may also have implications for the next Concorde Agreement, which determines where the prize money goes at the end of the season. But for the day-to-day racing it should not have any major effect.