Lauda hopes FOTA 'sword-rattling' succeeds

Even with plans hatched for a breakaway championship, figures in the Formula One paddock are still hoping a split can be avoided. As Max Mosley walked through the Silverstone paddock gate on Friday morning, Niki Lauda told Germany's N-TV that he...

Even with plans hatched for a breakaway championship, figures in the Formula One paddock are still hoping a split can be avoided.

As Max Mosley walked through the Silverstone paddock gate on Friday morning, Niki Lauda told Germany's N-TV that he hopes FOTA's threat shakes the sport into coming to a compromise.

"My hope is that the sword-rattling of FOTA means a compromise with Mosley is found. What is clear is that the FIA and Mosley cannot simply drive over the ideas of the teams," the Austrian legend said.

Toyota is one of the hard-liners of the FOTA alliance, but its Italian driver Jarno Trulli is disappointed about the steadily deteriorating situation.

"It will be a big disappointment if they can't find an agreement. A piece of history is going to break down and it will be everyone's fault probably," he said.

"I am only sad for the fans and the sport, because we are here to write history, and for the moment we are only writing about what the future of F1 will be and the politics," added Trulli.

Fernando Alonso has nailed his colours firmly to the FOTA movement, but even he agrees that the formation of a championship running in parallel to the official F1 series would leave "everybody a loser".

However, he told Spain's Marca newspaper that, if FOTA's plans are carried through, the survival of the FIA series "is impossible with only the small teams".

"I believe F1 would cease to exist because the interest will be so low," the Renault driver added.

By the German news agency DPA, he was quoted as saying that without the famous team names and drivers, "this is not Formula One, it's another category".

"It's time for FIA to step back," Alonso, 27, said. "Drivers are with FOTA. They pay us, they support us and we'll support them."

The specialist F1 financial publication Formula Money predicts that losing the eight teams would cost the official series $2.2 billion in annual investment.

The team's own sponsors pour millions into F1's coffers in the form of corporate hospitality and trackside advertising.

The industry monitor also said the championship, and race promoters, will suffer immediately because fans will not be prepared to book tickets early for next year, while TV broadcasters will want to renegotiate their contracts.

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Jarno Trulli , Fernando Alonso , Niki Lauda