F1 looks set to split into two separate series, the biggest change in the sports 60 year history. But would a split actually work or is this the end of Formula One?
It all started a few months ago with a dispute between The Formula One Teams Association (FOTA) and the FIA. FOTA represent eight of the ten teams currently in Formula One (everyone except Williams and Force India). They’ve been locked in a battle for months with the FIA (the governing body of Formula One) over wheter a budget cap should be introduced to the sport. The FIA would like to bring in a £40 million cap to help reduce the cost of the sport. But current teams, most notably Ferrari believe that this is not enough.
And this has all led to FOTA’s shock announcement today that they plan to make a breakaway series from the sport.
As far as I’m concerned, this spells very bad news for motorsport as a whole and especially Formula One. As it stands, the actual teams signed up for F1 next year are Williams, Force India and a handful of new teams attracted by the budget cap. That’s not really a great basis for ‘the pinnacle of motorsport’. It will be like a new series with new teams who will all be experiementing, rather than perfecting the racing that we already know.
It’ll also be a great shame for ‘the pinnacle’ to not include any of the big names that have made it great over the years, Ferrari, McLaren, BMW. Yes, they’ll have Williams, but that doesn’t really count for much at the moment!
So I suppose this means the sport by the name F1 may be a bit of a ket down, but the breakaway series will surely be a success. Wrong.
This breakaway series may have a lot of support behind it, but they are all relatively unexperienced in running a sport. The teams are there, but to organise a series on the level f F1 is very time consuming and I seriously doubt that a credible effort will be ready by March next year.
On another note, in America this has already happened. The IndyCar series split into two different series – Champ Car and IRL. This lasted for a few years, but in the end ChampCar died out and re-merged with IRL to re-form IndyCar. This in turn is now less popular than it was before the split with most of the audience going to Nascar. I feel there’s a real danger of this happening to F1 if they do choose to split.
Having said all this, there’s still a very strong possibility that the split will never happen. Speaking in a statement, max Mosely has given the teams more time to debate out their point-of-view and come to a decision. He’s also said he believes all will eventually come around to joining F1 for 2010.
Bernie Ecclestone has also been asked about the situation. He categorically denies that there’s anything wrong at all!
So will F1 stay string united or fall divided, time will tell. Let’s just sit back and enjoy this weeks British Grand Prix at Silverstone which incidentally, have offered to join FOTA’s new series!