Mike Stevens | Jul 22, 2010

The teams association FOTA is on "a collision course" with itself, Bernie Ecclestone said on Wednesday.

A row between the F1 chief executive and the separate union of the sport's competing teams has been heating up at recent races.

First, through the sponsorship arm Allsport, the teams were warned about putting sponsor logos on the garage walls, and then the teams' tractor units were ordered out of the Silverstone paddock.

"There is no space for FOTA," the 79-year-old Briton said two weeks ago.

It is believed his disdain dates back to 2009, when the then powerful FOTA muscularly threatened to split from formula one over rules and revenue.

Ecclestone told the Evening Standard: "I'm not on a collision course with FOTA, they're on a collision course with each other.

"Competitors will never be together. You can't expect 12 race teams to all be together on everything."

As for the sponsor logo spat, he explained: "The teams were putting sponsorship on property that belongs to us. I explained to them that's fine and maybe we wouldn't have a problem with that if we could put some things on their cars."

Williams chief executive Adam Parr makes light of the argument.

"I think Bernie sometimes wakes up on a Wednesday morning and says to himself 'I'm going to yank a few chains'.

"99 per cent of the time, we resolve these things without any blood being spilled."

Ecclestone almost confirms Parr's suspicions.

"I like achieving things and I see myself as something of a firefighter and I never get tired of it. And if there are no fires, we light a few of our own," he said.

Said FOTA's chairman Martin Whitmarsh: "I think we're looking forward to working with Bernie and making the sport better, not slugging it out with him."

(GMM)

 

Mercedes Not Looking For Schumacher Replacement: Haug

Michael Schumacher is "definitely not" considering abandoning his return to formula one after a single season.

That is the continued insistence of Mercedes' Norbert Haug, after the German marque's competition boss recently confirmed that Schumacher "will go for the title" in 2011.

The seven time world champion's lukewarm return so far has been much criticised, but Haug insists that he is the best possible teammate for Nico Rosberg.

As for rumours that a different driver will be alongside Rosberg in the next Mercedes car, Haug told DPA news agency: "Definitely not.

"As soon as we have a winning car then he will look for victories, just like Nico Rosberg will," said the German.

Haug defended Schumacher's recent performances.

"Michael finished in fourth place twice in the last six grands prix. That's not much for Schumacher or Mercedes standards but it's a lot when you consider what was possible in these races."

And he said the 41-year-old should not be ashamed to be 54 points behind Rosberg in the drivers' standings.

"Nico is one of the best around. Who knows, he could even be the best of them all," said Haug.

"We will make it to the very top," he promised. "We know what it takes to win races; we've done it before and we'll do it again."

In the context of his three-year retirement that began at the end of 2006, Schumacher also said he is satisfied so far.

"I am at a level that allows me to be happy," he is quoted by Welt newspaper. "Apparently, some others are not so happy, but that's their position."

Follow Mike Stevens on Google+