Bernie Ecclestone thinks there is no room in grand prix racing for the Formula One Teams' Association (FOTA) – as a spat over sponsorship branding in the sport moved up a gear at the British Grand Prix.
F1 teams had been warned ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix last month to be mindful of the display of sponsorship logos in the pits – with trackside advertiser Allsport making it clear that it owned such rights at circuits.
The matter has now moved across to the back of the pits, too – with sources revealing to Autosport that teams have been ordered to remove their tractor units from the Silverstone paddock because of the branding they displayed. No truck tractor units have been left in the paddock, and teams were seen on Thursday trying to work out ways to make the front of their trailer units look better.
The move to clamp down on team rights comes on the back of comments that Ecclestone has made to Gazzetta dello Sport, suggesting that he does not believe the teams' body FOTA has a place in F1.
"It will never work because it is made by teams that fight against each other on the tracks," Ecclestone told the Italian newspaper. "When the teams examine rules, everyone tries to get an advantage. The teams wanted to divide F1, but now they understand that it is good to give importance to the money that they get [from Formula One Management]. There is no space for FOTA... "
Ecclestone has previously denied any involvement in the row over sponsorship branding, claiming it was a matter between the teams and Allsport.