FOTA is proving it still has an important role to play in improving Formula 1, even though some big-name teams left the F1 teams' organization at the end of last year, claims Lotus team principal Eric Boullier, who also serves as FOTA's vice-chairman.
"I think the key thing is that even if some teams left officially the organisation, they are still committing on the main subjects, which are the RRA [the Resource Restriction Agreement on team cost cutting], and the testing agreements," Boullier said at FOTA's Fans' Forum, conducted at the open test in Barcelona. "Teams are still actively working together, and FOTA also is now about thinking of changing the way we want to operate, and the way we see it perceived in the paddock.
"If all the teams are not together, it is a different position in the paddock. But there is still some interest for me for all the teams to sit down together and to participate in F1 development – and this kind of [fans'] forum is a good example."
FOTA non-members Ferrari and HRT both sent representatives to speak on the panel at this week's Fans' Forum, something Boullier thinks bodes well for the future.
"It means the basis of FOTA is still remaining," he said. "It has changed, it will change again, but I think the F1 teams should – at least for the fans – be together."
Boullier also believes it important that FOTA continues with the Fans' Forum, after another successful event in Barcelona was attended by more than 200 people.
"For me, it is good to have fans actually ask you direct questions, and it is good to be in contact directly with the fans," he said. "I think we should do this.
"I am clearly in favor of this contact with the fans of F1 and it is good to see them happy, to meet different people – and we are happy to be available for them to answer their questions."