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A united front

NEWS STORY
30/01/2009

The people are rioting on the streets in France and Russia, angry at the way their respective governments are (mis)handling the financial crisis. Meanwhile there is unrest in a number of other countries, not least the United Kingdom, where workers look to be spoiling for a fight over the failure of Gordon Brown to keep his "British jobs for British workers" pledge. Yes, there is trouble in the air.

And in F1 too a row is building, and as Bernie Ecclestone rolls up his sleeves he will be aware that things have changed a little since his previous skirmishes with the teams.

Previously, Ecclestone has been able to rely on the fact that no two, certainly three, teams were able to agree on anything when it came to negotiations concerning most aspects of the sport. Meetings would usually descend into farce with the teams fighting among themselves rather than forming a united front, however, that all appears to have changed with the formation of FOTA, the Formula One Teams' Association.

Now the teams are singing from the same hymn-sheet, they genuinely appear to be working together for the good of themselves, their rivals and the sport.

When the manufacturers last threatened to break away and form their own championship, it was Ferrari that blew the game, accepting a deal from Ecclestone and thereby taking the real sting from the threat, it was only a matter of time before other teams caved in.

Now, however, the teams appear truly united, and if further proof were needed one only has to look at the almost chummy relationship between Ferrari and McLaren, two teams who have not enjoyed the most cordial of relationships over the years, to put it mildly.

However, in recent times both teams have been full of praise for one another, lauding each other's sterling work for FOTA and for Formula One.

Yesterday, FOTA (and Ferrari) Communications Manager, Luca Colajani, was guest at McLaren's Woking HQ, where, among other things, he attended a dinner hosted by the two teams.

"If you had told me a year ago that I would be doing this I would not have believed you," he subsequently told reporters.

Neither would we Luca, and neither would Bernie, who looks as though he may have a real fight on his hands this time.

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