Guest Author - Christine Blachford
The FIA, and Max Mosley in particular, have long been talking about making Formula 1 sport more cost effective and better for the environment. In an attempt to get some team input on the way the sport is going, Mosley asked the teams to come up with some regulations for the 2011 season that would be acceptable to them, but also adhere to his two stipulations.
In response, teams have gathered together to set up the Formula One Teams Association, FOTA for short. Representatives of all the teams met at the Ferrari headquarters in Italy ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix to discuss matters.
At the moment, that's really all we know about the new association. Being only a week old, they haven't announced any specific plans or decisions, but it seems like work is underway. Ross Brawn has spoken out recently, saying that he would be happy to head up the technical side of things for the group, if they don't mind him doing so. Brawn has turned several struggling teams into championship winners, so he has the credentials to take on the role of coming up with technical regulations.
What isn't clear, is how this new association differs from the old FOCA - Formula One Constructors Association. This group was started in the 1970s, to try and protect the teams interests. Bernie Ecclestone played a big part in proceedings, securing rights and revenue deals for the teams. The association even had an all out war with the FISA - the predecessor to the FIA. It has plenty of history and a strong recognisable presence within the sport.
Why the teams have decided to abandon that and come up with their own group is a mystery. There is speculation that the name change is because Formula 1 is moving more towards regulations where it is not necessary to be a constructor, but a customer team is acceptable as well. The previous rows with Toro Rosso and Super Aguri have shown that this is a difficult and sensitive subject.
Either way, if the FOTA can stand up to some of Mosley's more unfavourable demands, and even get working on a new Concorde Agreement, then I think they are worthwhile.