Formula One breakaway threat lifted

Speculation of a rival series to Formula One being set up was thought to be over yesterday after a breakthrough in talks aimed at resolving the future of the sport.

The Grand Prix World Championship, made up of five major car manufacturers with links to teams, agreed to prepare a Memorandum of Understanding with Bernie Ecclestone's F1 holding company at a meeting in Geneva. A joint statement read: "We are very happy that today we reached a breakthrough in our negotiations about the future of Formula One. The outcome is in the best interests of Formula One and the millions of its fans around the world."

The GPWC - made up of BMW, DaimlerChrysler, Ferrari, Ford and Renault - had threatened to break away unless they had a greater say in the future of the sport and received an increased share of the millions it generates.

The rival series would have been set up from 2008 after the present Concorde Agreement runs out at the end of 2007.

Ecclestone attended the meeting along with representatives of the major banks which have the majority shareholding in SLEC. All the parties agreed to prepare a Memorandum of Understanding regarding the future structure of the sport before the end of this month.