Sauber has become the third team to quit the Formula One Teams’ Association (FOTA) in as many weeks, following the earlier departures of Ferrari and Red Bull Racing. There are also rumours that Scuderia Toro Rosso may be set to follow suit…
A team spokeswoman confirmed the team had served its notice to leave the group, for reasons that “have been fully explained to FOTA and will be kept private for now.”
Sauber’s announcement casts serious doubt on the future viability of the group that has served to represent the teams’ interests in negotiating the sport’s rules and commercial rights.
Scuderia Toro Rosso’s membership is also under a cloud, amid rumours that the Italian team did not send a representative to the latest FOTA meeting in London, two days ago. The team has refused to offer any comment on these rumours, although with the departure of its sister team Red Bull Racing, its prolonged involvement has looked shaky.
FOTA’s remaining members – McLaren, Lotus F1 Team, Mercedes GP, Williams, Force India, Team Caterham and Marussia – met on Tuesday to hold crisis talks on where the group goes to from here.
But with the departing teams needing to give two months’ notice of their intention to leave, it is likely that the remaining members will stage a concerted push to get these teams to rejoin the group.
Much of the wrangling within FOTA has centred on the contentious Resource Restriction Agreement – the gentleman’s agreement between the teams to reduce costs and staffing headcount – and how it is policed within FOTA, or indeed whether it should be managed by an independent body.
[Original image via Sutton Images]