The Formula One Teams' Association has the strength and unity to stay focused on the best course of action for the sport despite the growing tension over the Resource Restriction Agreement (RRA), according to McLaren's managing director Jonathan Neale.
Speculation over both Red Bull's spending on the way to its World Championship successes, and the RRA implications of Mercedes' recruitment of big-name technical figures Bob Bell, Aldo Costa and Geoff Willis, has led to concerns that the deal could collapse. Meetings between the teams are expected in Korea this weekend to try and resolve the issue before it becomes more serious.
"There's always going to be a degree of tension between the teams," Neale said. "There has been some recent speculation about whether Red Bull is complying or not. But none of us really know, because we're not in there; we don't really understand how their business operates or how it's divided. Quite understandably, many of the teams mask the way in which their public accounts are provided so that you can't reverse engineer what's going on.
"Formula 1 has, for decades, been surrounded with a bit of mistrust and rumor between the teams – 'What are they doing?' 'Are they cheating on the circuit?' 'Do they have some new wonder device?' I think that's all part of the sport. In reality, the bigger point is that Formula 1 does need to stick together."
Neale said FOTA had already withstood numerous challenges and survived, and he had faith that its members would not let their teams' self-interest jeopardize that unity this time, either.
"FOTA has been very good at capping the costs in many areas, and I think it has set an exciting and ambitious challenge with the FIA for technology development from 2014 and beyond," he said. "There will inevitably be pressures, there are those who would seek to divide the teams as we get ourselves ready for the next round of commercial negotiations, and there will be tensions, of course.
"Everybody wants the best for their team, but I think that this generation of professional team principals are more than equipped to see the bigger picture as well as fight their own team's corner."