The FIA has released a public dossier on its dealings with FOTA over the past few months, as both bodies strive towards finding a solution for the future of Formula 1.
I ask you to take a few minutes from your day and read the document through in full. It is fascinating reading, and with FOTA’s own document sure to be released soon, gaining a full understanding of the FIA’s position is, I feel, of great importance.
The document makes genuinely intruiging reading, but it is concrete in its resolution.
The FIA and FOM have together spent decades building the FIA Formula One World Championship into the most watched motor sport competition in history.
In light of the success of the FIA’s Championship, FOTA – made up of participants who come and go as it suits them – has set itself two clear objectives: to take over the regulation of Formula One from the FIA and to expropriate the commercial rights for itself. These are not objectives which the FIA can accept.
It is this section of the document, perhaps more than any of the whys and wherefores, that matters. It is in this that the FIA sets out its stall and says, perhaps in stronger fashion than ever, that FOTA will not and cannot win this fight.
It’s over. Time at the bar. If FOTA stands firm, this sport as we know it is done. Finished.
The teams simply cannot win. The governing body and the commercial rights holder are now so steadfast in their position and their belief that the teams are trying to stage what, in their eyes, is a coup d’etat, that they will not give in and relinquish even the scantest element of their authority. The rules will not be changed. The budget cap will not be raised. It’s over.
Which means that the threat of a division, and of either the establishment of a new championship or of the manufacturers going their own separate ways, is now an almost certainty.
The only question left, it seems, is whether FOTA will remain united and do its own thing, or if its membership will start to capitulate to the FIA.
Unfortunately, and as a result of this document making public the instances of battle in a war that still rages between two bodies so fundamentally opposed to the existence and demands of the other, there seems little question that this Friday’s deadline could yet see the single most cataclysmic event in the history of the sport.
Fifty nine years ago, Formula 1 was born at Silverstone, with the running of the first ever World Championship Grand Prix. Could it be that at that very circuit, which itself is being ejected from the sport it helped to create, we receive confirmation that Formula 1, as we have come to know it, will cease to exist?
God, I hope not. But it seems as though there just isn’t any room left to manouevre.