F1's FOTA on track despite setbacks

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IOL mot pic dec6 F1 Norbert Haug AFP Mercedes-Benz motorsport vice-president Norbert Haug (right) and Ferrari president Luca Cordero di Montezemolo leave after a Fota meeting aboard the yacht of Flavio Briatore in Monte Carlo harbour.

Efforts to reach a Formula One cost-cutting agreement will not be thrown off track by the 'bump in the road' caused by Ferrari and Red Bull withdrawing from the teams' association FOTA, say Mercedes bosses.

Champions Red Bull and rivals Ferrari both said on Friday that they had handed in their notice, leaving Fota with only nine members out of 12 teams. Tail-enders Hispania quit in January.

The body was set up by all the teams to present a united front in negotiations with the commercial rights holders and governing FIA.

However top teams have been arguing over the shape of a renewed Resource Restriction Agreement to control costs and create a more level playing field for struggling smaller outfits.

Mercedes motorsport vice-president Norbert Haug said Fota still had a purpose.

“I think it is absolutely vital that Fota is existing,” he declared, adding that the targets remained the same whether teams were in or outside the grouping.

“The aims that we are having, the targets, are very important and I think it is up to the so-called top teams to really balance it out.”

Mercedes team CEO Nick Fry said Fota president Martin Whitmarsh, principal of Mercedes-powered McLaren, had done an excellent job as had his Ferrari predecessor Luca di Montezemolo.

“It's obviously quite a difficult time at the moment and clearly we are very supportive of cost control in Formula One,” said Fry, whose team have made a rash of high-profile technical signings recently.

“It's a difficult thing to achieve when everybody is so competitive but we certainly will work with others to try and fulfil the aim of an RRA.

“I think even though Ferrari have withdrawn at the moment they also are intent on finding a solution to this,” Fry added.

“We've certainly hit a bump in the road but I believe that work will continue in the background to try and resolve this and we will do whatever we can to support that.” - Reuters

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