Rare is that you can get all 11 Formula One teams to agree on something, but for several years, they did as part of the Formula One Teams’ Association, or FOTA.
That day is no more, with the confirmation Friday that the working group has disbanded.
In a statement, FOTA secretary general Oliver Weingarten more or less said the changing tides of F1 politics helped the organization meet its demise.
“I can confirm that FOTA has today been disbanded as a result of its members’ having re-evaluated their requirements in the face of a changing political and commercial landscape in Formula 1,” Weingarten wrote.
As a personal add-on, Weingarten added on Twitter, “Thank you to all the fans for your support over the years. It has been a pleasure to work with you. I can now be followed @OWeingarten.”
Fan forums – the most recent and now last of which was held in November in Austin – were one of the excellent components FOTA brought to F1. Testing agreements also came to the fore before that.
Still, FOTA was formed as a way for the teams to present a united front to Bernie Ecclestone and then-FIA President Max Mosley (since replaced by Jean Todt) in discussing future commercial negotiations.
FOTA even presented the threat of a breakaway series, but it never materialized. As it was, several teams pulled out of the group, certain team principal positions changed, and the most recent change at McLaren (Eric Boullier in, Martin Whitmarsh out) was among the deciding blows.
Marco Andretti wanted to do something really special to honor the 25th anniversary of grandfather Mario Andretti’s final Indy car win in 1993 at Phoenix International Raceway (now known as ISM Raceway).
So the third-generation Andretti, along with his team, Andretti-Herta Autosport, came up with a plan and design that will take longtime race fans back in time when it appears early next month for the Phoenix Grand Prix.
Marco Andretti’s No. 98 Oberto Beef Jerky Circle K/Curb Honda will be decked out in the colors of the car his grandfather won his last race on the one-mile short track 25 years ago.
“When the idea of a throwback livery celebrating my grandfather’s final win was thrown around, Oberto was ready to get to the drawing board,” Marco Andretti said in a media release. “The black, white and red car resembles many of my family’s race cars and was a big part of my life growing up.
“It’s really cool to be able to add one of my cars to that family legacy.”
The car is a virtual double of the legendary Newman-Haas Racing and Texaco/Havoline-sponsored car Mario drove on that celebratory day in the Valley of the Sun 2 ½ decades ago.
Various events and ceremonies during the April 6-7 race weekend will honor the senior Andretti. That includes several of his former competitors who will be on hand to celebrate with Mario, including Emerson Fittipaldi, Bobby Rahal, Jimmy Vasser, Paul Tracy, Arie Luyendyk, and of course, son Michael Andretti and grandson Marco Andretti.
Check out what happened on that day 25 years ago: