'FOTA not serving sinister or selfish agenda'

Saturday 6th June 2009

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'FOTA not serving sinister or selfish agenda'

'FOTA not serving sinister or selfish agenda'

John Howett is adamant the Formula One Teams' Association are far from being "sinister or selfish" when it comes to the prospect of new teams joining the sport.

That has been the suggestion levelled at FOTA and their stance in the ongoing budget cap row with motor sport's governing body, the FIA.

FOTA last week submitted a block entry, insisting they would sign up to F1 through to 2012 on two conditions, one of which could be construed as blocking the prospects of new entrants.

Yet FOTA vice-chairman Howett insisted: "I think we've been working very unselfishly in the last four or five years to reduce the cost of entry.

"I've not heard of any resistance from any FOTA member to welcoming new teams.

"Generally, all we're asking for is a stable platform derived from a Concorde Agreement (the regulatory and commercial document that governed F1 up until the end of 2007).

"Once we have stable governance and a stable platform I think we can significantly improve the sport for the benefit of all the stakeholders and that's purely and simply the intention of FOTA.

"Going beyond that, I think that we are, as many of the major players are in FOTA, an integral part of global motor sport.

"We're involved in young driver programmes, quite a number of us provide Formula Three engines.

"We are active from grass roots to motor sport at the top level, everywhere.

"The value of motor sport is very important to us, so to point out that we are being selfish or sinister is genuinely wrong.

"Most of the big companies involved in FOTA are serious about motor sport and adding value at all levels across all areas.

"Renault are very strong in that, Ferrari are synonymous with motor sport. I don't think we have to say anymore."

Toyota's Motorsport President singled out Ferrari and Renault as he had fellow team bosses Stefano Domenicali and Flavio Briatore sat alongside him at the time.

Briatore has been at pains to point out FOTA are not at war with FIA president Max Mosley, although Howett confirmed the possibility of a breakaway series, although only as a last resort.

It is all part of the ongoing debate between Mosley and FOTA ahead of next Friday's announcement of the 13 teams due to be confirmed on the grid for 2010.

One of those will certainly be Force India after they broke ranks from FOTA and submitted an unconditional entry due to contractual obligations, a similar situation as to Williams.

As to the threat of the remaining eight teams going their own way, Howett added: "From Toyota's position we are quite relaxed.

"We feel what we are asking is reasonable, but should the entries be rejected then we need to sit down and discuss the next step.

"We do have a number of scenarios and scenario-planning, based on the reaction of the FIA, and the worst-case scenario would be to establish our own series."

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