While the initial shot from FOTA is still being felt by most fans of Formula 1, FOTA have already began moving forward with their new series. Max Mosley’s threat of legal action against those forming a breakaway series has had little to no affect on those who have already made the decision. This week will prove to be an interesting news week as we have a WMSC meeting scheduled for Wednesday and what would appear to be a FOTA rebuttal meeting on Thursday.
There were some very strong words this weekend from Flavio Briatore in which he indicated the decision had been made and there was little to no chance for a saving the situation. However, everything rests on Wednesday’s WMSC meeting and more importantly the future of Max Mosley. The teams have not openly said it, but the resignation or indication that Mosley will not re-run for the FIA’s top post may just be enough to bring everyone back together. We will see Luca di Montezemolo go one on one with Mosley during the meeting which may very well shape the future of F1 or lack there of. Mosley has made no secret that this crisis may require him to run again. In my humble opinion, Mosley will be lucky to leave the WMSC meeting this week with his job period.
Along with this week’s meetings, FOTA have scheduled appointments to hire promoters for their series and will also meet on what the regulations for the series will be. This to be covered during the Thursday meeting I would assume unless a deal is struck. FOTA have also said they are looking at a 17 race schedule for the first year. Tracks such Indianapolis, Le Mans, and Montreal are just a few of the names on the earliest draft. Monaco and Monza have also gone the way of the FOTA series. Even if those five circuits were the only ones on the schedule I would tune in week in and week out. The FIA has walked away from some of the crown event tracks of its past such as San Marino, Silverstone potentially, and instead opted for tracks in the Middle East and Asia. While we may have to wait a bit to find out what the schedule will be, a number of circuits have went the direction of FOTA simply because the product that will be offered by the FIA will be terrible.
The FIA has said a number of times that it will be nearly impossible for FOTA to have such a quick turn around for a new championship. Again, my humble opinion on the matter is it is not going to be AS hard as the FIA are claiming. FOTA currently have a number of things at this moment that actually make this separation possible in such a short amount of time. They have the top brands in the sport that will bring the fans to the circuit. Ferrari is bigger than F1 and having Renault, RBR, McLaren and others will not hurt their cause. Along with that are a number of circuits that were forced to lose grand prix dates. Indianapolis jumps off the sheet; Tony George has stated his desire to have the top teams back at Indy. All FOTA needs are quick deals in which they concede a little bit of money and then make an attempt to work out long term deals. As far as the technical regulations, they may be the toughest part of the process in getting cars together that can be competitive without charging too much money to the smaller teams. Granted we are not talking a 40 million euro budget, but in order to get full participation, a cap may need to be put into place. The idea of at least getting the championship up and running is not too far fetched.
Many of the fans and individuals believe that this “split” will lead to a similar situation to North American open wheel racing. I don’t see those problems and I further believe the two situations to be apples and oranges personally. This split is a different beast in the fact that all of the top teams and venues are going to one side. The North American split saw one track (Indy) hold a whole series up while most of the top teams went the other direction. This time all of the top entities of the series are just separating from a governing body that has done nothing good for the sport in the last 6 years at least. So the contrast between the two splits is there and we will have to wait until the end of the week to see how much further the “split” goes.