Berthold Bouman, F1 Correspondent
Sauber issued a brief statement: “Last week the Sauber F1 Team has declared its departure from the Formula One Teams' Association FOTA. We have explained the reasons for the decision to FOTA.” Sauber’s decision is not a complete surprise, as Ferrari provides the engines for the Swiss team.
This would effectively mean McLaren, Mercedes, Lotus Renault, Force India, Williams, Team Lotus and Marussia Virgin are now the seven remaining members of the FOTA, an alliance that was founded in 2008 to give teams a more powerful position during the negotiations for the new 2013 Concorde Agreement. The Spanish HRT outfit had already left the FOTA at the end of 2010.
But today in 2011, the Resource Restriction Agreement (RRA) seems to be the source of discontent, as teams have accused each other of breaking the RRA, an agreement which ultimately should prevent teams from spending more and more money on the development of their cars.
Current Chairman of the FOTA is McLaren Team Principal Martin Whitmarsh, and he has not been able to keep the noses pointed in the same direction. As there is a two-month’s notice period before the three rogue teams can leave the FOTA, it is therefore also suspected these teams are putting the remaining teams under pressure to find an acceptable solution for the current problems.
The FOTA and Whitmarsh have so far refused to comment on the departure of the three teams, and Sauber has also not given any insight as to why they wish to leave the alliance.