Lotus team principal Eric Boullier is confident that the Formula One Teams' Association (FOTA) has a strong future, despite the departure of several members.
Ferrari, Red Bull Racing, Scuderia Toro Rosso and Sauber all decided to quit FOTA at the end of 2011 as a legacy of the ongoing row over the Resource Restriction Agreement (RRA). The move prompted doubts over the future of FOTA, but Boullier, who remains as vice chairman for 2012, is confident that the body can not only survive but also thrive because cooperation with the non-member teams is still ongoing.
"FOTA was created in 2008 by car manufacturers to fight against some people and to maybe go for a breakaway series – that story we know," he said at a Lotus launch event at Jerez on Monday. "FOTA today faces a different challenge, and to understand if FOTA is relevant, that is the first question. The second question is, what do we want to achieve with FOTA? I think this question has been asked, and we have got a proper answer now.
"Even the teams who have resigned from FOTA are still working with FOTA, in terms of factory shutdown, testing agreement, and RRA. So, from that perspective, there will be no change. So, at least if we can still work on making F1 better, more sustainable and help F1 to be better, that is what FOTA should be."
Sauber CEO Monisha Kaltenborn said that despite leaving FOTA, her team would remain keen to work with the other teams on future plans.
"Our FOTA membership has now come to an end and, because of that, definitely we will be on our own like others are," she explained at Jerez. "I would not exclude that we will still be talking about points like this because, in other areas, we are definitely continuing our talks with FOTA.
"We are respecting the agreements that were signed under FOTA, even though legally they are not depending on us being a member of FOTA or not – like the RRA. We also agreed on the factory shutdown this year which is again done under FOTA originally.
"So, getting out of FOTA does not mean that we have just broken all contacts over there. We had our reasons [for leaving] which we explained to FOTA, but that does not stop us cooperating with other teams."