Say Goodbye To FOTA, Max Mosley Won, But at What Cost?

Daniel ZylberkanCorrespondent IJune 18, 2009

SHANGHAI, CHINA - OCTOBER 14:  (CHINA OUT) International Automobile Federation (FIA) President Max Mosley attends the first-ever Formula One (F1) Global Business Conference in 55 years on October 14, 2005 in Shanghai, China. Participants have discussed the exploitation of F1 commercial potential in China, offering important advices about brand building and promoting in the Chinese sports industry during the conference.  (Photo by China Photos/Getty Images)

The Formula One Teams Association has after almost two months of fighting it out with Max Mosley finally thrown the final punch in what has been like a 15 round heavyweight match.

FOTA has announced that they will form a competing championship, a championship that will not be governed by the FIA and more importantly Max Mosley's quixotic and arbitrary rule changes.

But that begs the question for both Formula One and the manufacturers, what have they lost in the split?

The first Formula One season was held in 1950 and of the manufacturers on the grid only one was present in 1950, Ferrari. Formula One has been built not around rules, governance or commercial rights deals. It has been built on the trifecta of  circuit, driver and car. 

So with the split Formula One loses its most important resource the drivers and cars, who are soon to be replaced by near unknown outfits like Epsilon Euskadi or N. Technology.

The spirit of the heated Williams-McLaren fights from the 80s and 90s and the fight between McLaren and Ferrari in the 21st century will be gone from Formula One. What will be left is the equivalent of GP2, as sad as that sounds, 26 nearly identical cars, all with Cosworth engines will compete for the so called "World Championship".

On the other hand FOTA will lose probably the most valuable asset in Formula One's modern landscape, Bernie Ecclestone and his organization Formula One Management.

A FOTA-led series will not have access to the same television stations and circuits as Formula One. FOM has contracts with all major broadcasters and circuits and to try and lure any of them away will result in massive legal action from Ecclestone and the FOM.

Some observers might also say that the FOTA led series would have a problem in gaining legitimacy,  cries of "conflict of interest" will ring from far and wide. Mainly because many do not see how FOTA can govern itself if its leadership has vested interest in the competition.

An impartial leader or body is hard to find (especially because FOTA just spurned the FIA). So what must be done?

Appeal to some parties experienced in motorsport regulation such as the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO), the Le Mans organizers.  FIM even though they are a motorcycle racing body, IMSA, the American Le Mans Series has been spiking in popularity and reputation lately.

It is hard to say who has lost more from the split, but I would have to say that it's a tie between Formula One itself and the Formula One fan.

The FIA has alienated itself from the teams and a compromise is nearly impossible (if one could be rescued) and the fans lose because they will not have a legitimate Formula One to watch on Sunday afternoons and if they side with FOTA, the rival series will be "invisible".