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RSS Motorsports: Formula One Teams Association officially disbands

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Filed under: Motorsportsfota-logo.jpg

You'd have to search pretty hard to find an environment more competitive than Formula One. Sure, any sport (motorized or otherwise) is inherently competitive, but imagine if, say, football teams were each required to not only hire and train their own players, but also design and manufacture their own footballs, helmets and other essential equipment - a fresh batch each year to meet changing regulations, with costs measured in the tens of millions - and then take them on the road from game to game with no home field. Then imagine that their revenues were directly linked to how they performed from one year to the next, and you can start to understand how competitive things can get between the individual teams participating in the series.

Little wonder, then, that there's historically been little unity between the teams. So it should come as little surprise, either, that the Formula One Teams Association has officially disbanded. FOTA was founded in 2008 as an advocacy and collective bargaining group to represent the various teams and speak on their behalf in a united voice in negotiations with the FIA and Formula One Administration. It was initially presided over by Luca di Montezemolo until Ferrari withdrew its membership, and then by Martin Whitmarsh until he was sidelined by McLaren.

FOTA made headlines when it threatened to leave F1 and form a break-away Grand Prix World Championship in June 2009. The threat worked and the teams got what they wanted from the FIA and Formula One Administration, but the next month, Ferrari, Sauber, Red Bull and Toro Rosso left the organization over disagreements regarding cost-cutting measures. Williams and Force India, which had previously left, rejoined a couple of months later, and the organization continued to represent seven of the teams for the next few years, but after years of in-fighting and disagreements over which direction to take, FOTA recently issued the following statement on its website:

As of the 28th of February 2014 FOTA will be 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.

FOTA wasn't the first attempt to represent the teams' collective interests in discussions with series organizers. The former Formula One Constructors Association (FOCA) was founded in 1974 by independent teams like McLaren, Williams, Brabham, Lotus, Toleman and Tyrrell. Bernie Ecclestone was its chief executive and Max Mosley its legal advisor, and it ultimately turned into the Formula One Administration we know today.

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