x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Howett denies holding F1 to ransom

Formula One Teams' Association vice-chairman John Howett insists the organisation are not holding the sport to ransom.

Formula One Teams' Association (FOTA) vice-chairman John Howett insists the organisation are not holding the sport to ransom. Despite weeks of talks between FOTA and FIA president Max Mosley, no resolution has been found to the budget cap row. The FOTA teams are demanding "balanced and transparent" governance be in place before they commit themselves to the sport, as well as a more confidential system to oversee any cost control. Despite that, three of FOTA's eight member teams ? Ferrari, Red Bull Racing and Toro Rosso ? have been given a place on the grid for next season even though they initially submitted conditional entries.

The trio have all firmly aligned themselves with FOTA, while the remaining five teams ? McLaren, Toyota, Renault, BMW Sauber and Brawn GP ? have a further seven days to submit an unconditional entry. Howett, who is also president of Toyota Motorsport, said: "We're all very sad we're not focusing on the racing and what's exciting about Formula One. "But I really believe FOTA's ambition is to improve the sport for the long term. "What we primarily want is a sensible basis of governance so that the regulations aren't changed willy nilly, so there is involvement of the teams in a proper process and that process is not deviated from. "Secondly, we feel there is a risk in involving financial forensic control in the sporting regulations in deciding a championship.

"It's not about power or FOTA running the sport. What we're saying is we want a proper and balanced governance process because at times it's lacking." The suggestion on occasion is that FOTA have refused to play ball with Mosley and agree to his cost cap proposal to prevent any new teams entering. But following today's announcement of the 2010 grid, Campos Grand Prix, Manor F1 Team and Team US F1 have successfully been granted a place. "We welcome new teams," insisted Howett on BBC Radio 5 Live. "You have to say Brawn have done a fantastic job, and without the great support of McLaren and Mercedes they wouldn't have been there. "There are other teams who do get a lot of support from the manufacturers, so I do dispute strongly we hold the sport to ransom. It's quite the opposite. "We make a huge effort to add value and improve the total balance in the sport." The FIA maintain the level of interest from potential new entrants merely underlines the fact that excessive costs in recent years has been prohibitive to entry.

According to the FIA, there were 15 applications, with 12 of those seriously vetted before today's confirmation of the final three. There is still a possibility given the furore between the FIA and the FOTA eight that other new teams will be included. "Formula One is a fantastic prospect and with the financial reforms to lower the barrier to entry to realistic levels it is good to see such a strong market for new teams," confirmed FIA in a statement. "This exercise has demonstrated that the only reason there have been vacancies on the F1 grid for many years was the excessive cost of participation." * PA Sport