The Formula 1 teams’ self-interest has prevailed once again, with confirmation that their association, FOTA, has been disbanded.
The group was established in 2008, formed as a union of all the existing teams in their quest for a greater slice of the commercial pie while also serving to block the FIA (which at that point was being headed by Max Mosley) into ramming through rules changes that they didn’t want.
Some success was achieved, and in the following years the sport remained relatively stable (politics-wise at least), while the teams also did some impressive work to become more focused on the needs of the fans.
But the structure started to weaken in 2011 when Ferrari – as it has done repeatedly in its history – broke away from the consortium as the early disputes over cost-capping proposals reared their head, and signed a deal on its own terms with the Formula One Group to remain in the sport.
With the ring-leader having betrayed the rest of the group, the likes of Red Bull Racing, Toro Rosso and Sauber quickly followed suit as they scrambled to negotiate their own tailor-mase (but less-favourable) deals.
FOTA was now significantly weaker, but it remained a vocal force for the rest of the grid under the stewardship of McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh.
But with the Englishman seemingly out of the way following McLaren’s restructure, no one wants to take over at the helm of FOTA, leaving to the union’s disbandment.
“FOTA has today been disbanded as a result of its members’ having re-evaluated their requirements in the face of a changing political and commercial landscape in Formula 1,” a message on its official Twitter feed reads.
Given the cyclical nature of these team-based unions, however, one can probably expect a group similar to FOTA to spring up around 2020, when the current commercial rights agreements with the teams expire.
Image via FOTA