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F1 teams appoint Montezemolo as chairman

September 12, 2008 16:18 IST

The Formula One Teams Association (FOTA) appointed Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo as their first chairman on Thursday after an inaugural meeting at the Italian Grand Prix.

Toyota motorsport president John Howett was named as vice-chairman.

The 10 teams set up the association to work with the governing International Automobile Federation (FIA) and commercial rights holders to find ways of improving the show while spending less and increasing revenue.

FIA President Max Mosley warned in July that the sport is "becoming unsustainable" and invited teams to come up with new rules to slash costs and halve fuel consumption by 2015.

Ferrari said the meeting has agreed five primary objectives and established three commissions.

The Sporting Working Group will be led by McLaren chief executive Martin Whitmarsh, the Technical Working Group by Honda team principal Ross Brawn and the Commercial Working Group by Renault F1 team boss Flavio Briatore.

The establishment of FOTA comes at a time when Formula One is seeking to re-position itself as less wasteful and more environmentally-aware.

Frank Williams, co-owner of former champions Williams, said at last weekend's Belgian Grand Prix that most teams now recognise they have to save a lot of money.

"There is a desire to reduce the cost of Formula One racing as soon as possible and in sensible, practical ways that don't leave any team severely if at all disadvantaged," he told reporters.

Six of the 10 current teams are owned, entirely or partly, by major car companies competing in a market bitten by the global credit crunch and high oil prices.

Racing does not come cheap, with even the smallest of teams burning through more than $100 million annually.

The 2008-09 edition of Formula Money, a 156-page report published by communications consultancy CNC, estimated that Toyota's team alone could count on annual resources of around $445.6 million compared to some $433.3 million for McLaren.

Champions Ferrari, the sport's most successful team, ranked only third with $414.9 million while Honda came in fourth with $398.1 million.

Despite their overflowing war chest, Cologne-based Toyota have failed to win a race since their Formula One debut in 2002 while Honda have scored just 14 points from 13 races this season.

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