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.
Car No.: 27
Best Finish: P6 (Spain, Great Britain, Belgium, Abu Dhabi)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Championship Position: 10th
Expectations were hard to peg for Renault heading into its second full season back in F1 with a factory team, but Nico Hulkenberg was surely expected to be the man spearheading its charge.
With teammate Jolyon Palmer severely underperforming, Hulkenberg did exactly that, bringing home all but 14 of the team’s points in the final standings. However, consistency was never something he truly found.
Many of Renault’s issues were down to reliability issues, sidelining Hulkenberg for six races – four coming in a five-race stint from Singapore to Mexico – yet he only scored points in consecutive races on three occasions.
When Hulkenberg and Renault were on form, they proved to be a potent combination, often topping the midfield fight and even looking faster than Force India come the end of the season. His run to sixth at the final race in Abu Dhabi was crucial for the constructors’ championship as Renault jumped Toro Rosso, securing an extra slice of prize money in the process.
But for a driver who was so often tipped as being a future star in F1, Hulkenberg still has a lot to prove. Renault is set to offer a good platform for the German moving forward with factory support, yet if he cannot beat new teammate Carlos Sainz Jr. through 2018, concerns will surely be raised.
Season High: Charging to sixth in Abu Dhabi despite a penalty.
Season Low: A tough run to 16th in Malaysia.