The disagreement between the Formula One Teams’ Association (FOTA) and HRT over the Spanish team’s departure from the organisation is still going on and shows little sign of abating.
FOTA has claimed that HRT was kicked out because it had not paid its annual €100,000 membership fee, while HRT is claiming that it walked away from FOTA because it was dissatisfied with the apparent lack of support being provided to the smaller outfits on the grid.
HRT has now said that it did offer to pay the outstanding annual fee after it left the body, amid continuing speculation over why the issue happened at all.
FOTA chairman and McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh has confirmed that HRT was kicked out due to a failure “to fulfil its membership fee obligations”.
While one could infer that HRT never paid up at all, it is believed that the team had in fact paid two separate instalments of €25,000 each in late 2009 and early 2010 before it decided to withhold payments, claiming an ongoing frustration with FOTA’s efforts.
It is believed by the time of the final FOTA meeting of the year in December that HRT had informed FOTA that it no longer wished to participate, and FOTA in turn responded by suspending the team, formally notifying HRT the following day.
With both sides trying to claim the moral high ground that they blinked first in the entire affair, the truth no doubt lies somewhere in the middle, and that this item has achieved such prominence in the motorsport press probably says more for the lack of other news doing the rounds!
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