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Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren Team Principal and Chairman of the Formula One Teams Association (FOTA), has denied any tension with fellow leading teams such as Red Bull and Ferrari – both of which have now departed the group.
Off-track pressures amongst the top teams were upped during the 2011 season, not least after the blown-diffuser debacle which reached its pinnacle at Silverstone. In the second half of the year, several outfits accused World Champions Red Bull of disrespecting the Resource Restriction Agreement (RRA).
“FOTA has achieved a great deal in its short history and it’s still achieving a great deal now,” Whitmarsh told the official F1 website. “It would never have come into existence without the staunch support of both Red Bull and Ferrari in its early days, and indeed (Ferrari President) Luca di Montezemolo was its first Chairman. Moreover, relations between McLaren, Red Bull and Ferrari remain very good indeed.”
When asked directly if inter-team affairs are strained, Whitmarsh replied:
“Ferrari and McLaren have never enjoyed such cordial relations as they do currently. Okay, Formula 1 teams will always be competitive with one another - that’s natural and it’s the way things should be. Formula 1 is a sport, but it’s also a business - and a serious business at that. But that doesn’t mean we can’t and shouldn’t collaborate when collaborating can confer an overall benefit for the majority and that applies to all the teams, even those who are currently outside FOTA.
“So, speaking for McLaren, I can confirm that, at every level and in every discipline - engineering, marketing, PR, commercial, financial, legal and so on - our people remain in frequent and on-going contact with their counterparts within Red Bull and Ferrari, as well as with their counterparts within all the other teams…and certainly that applies to (Red Bull Team Principal) Christian Horner, (Ferrari Team Principal) Stefano Domenicali and myself.”
Following the FOTA departures of Red Bull and Ferrari in December 2011, Ferrari customer team Sauber also withdrew from the alliance.
Also on Monday:
'I’m pleased Räikkönen is back' - Whitmarsh
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