"The teams are only getting 23 per cent of the gross income from Grand Prix racing. The stakeholders who are part of that 23 per cent wish to change that percentage," said Dennis. "There is an inevitability: there will either be a satisfactory conclusion, somewhere between now and the end of 2007, or there will be a new world championship. There will most definitely not be, in my opinion, two world championships."
Dennis conceded that such action would be "a difficult hurdle to jump", but believed that it was one which would be taken, if necessary, this year. Yesterday's pit-lane talk in Budapest may have been dominated by the sight of Michael Schumacher claiming his first pole of the season and Jenson Button's yes-but-no-but-I'd-really-rather-not response to Frank Williams' request that the young Briton driver adhere to a signed contract and join his team.
But the question of who owns and runs the commercial arm of the sport after 2007, when the current Concorde Agreement expires, is crucial to F1's future prosperity. The Grand Prix Manufacturers' Association, representing every team and manufacturer but Ferrari, produced their "manifesto" on Monday. The GPMA met Max Mosley, president of the FIA, in Cannes yesterday when sporting and technical proposals were agreed but not legal aspects.
The GPMA are dedicated to enhancing F1 as a spectacle. "We have not discounted extremes such as moving the timing of GPs to fit with the various time changes as we go round the world, to ensure that GP racing comes on to the biggest percentage of our audience, prime-time. That's even seen us consider racing at night, under floodlights," said Dennis.
Although he still believes that the financial issue will ultimately be settled by negotiation, Dennis told me: "This should send a very clear message to the shareholders of the promoting company: come to a point where there is a better or fairer economic balance, transparency, strong world-class corporate governance. If you do not come with us to that point, then we'll go to that point without you. That will happen."Reuse content