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FOTA on the verge of collapse

ESPN Staff
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Martin Whitmarsh's absence has compounded issues for FOTA © Sutton Images
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The Formula One Teams' Association (FOTA) could fall apart by the end of February due to "substantial" financial problems, according to the Telegraph.

FOTA, which was originally set up in 2008 as a means for collective bargaining for the teams, faces unpaid subscription fees, deadlock among the 11 teams about its purpose, and the loss of its chairman Martin Whitmarsh. The body only counts seven out of the 11 teams as members, and they have not yet been able to agree a mandate for FOTA - a crisis heightened by the absence of chairman Whitmarsh, who was replaced at McLaren last month.

The association has not enjoyed a smooth relationship with Bernie Ecclestone, and the fact Ferrari and Red Bull are among the four teams not part of the body highlights its weakened position.

FOTA's general secretary, Oliver Weingarten, said: "I can confirm that the teams have met in discussion as to how to potentially restructure the association and continue and further the engagement with the non-members, who have benefited from FOTA activities over the last 12 months."

Whitmarsh is expected to be replaced in his FOTA role by Eric Boullier, who also recently stepped into his old job at McLaren - but the Frenchman is expected to take a far more hands-off approach. The departure of Whitmarsh leaves FOTA without a well-respected leader in the paddock.

The Telegraph also reports FOTA has until the end of the month to determine whether it has a future in F1.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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