New headache for Ecclestone
Wednesday 27 October 2004
Bernie Ecclestone, the holder of Formula One's commercial rights, found himself with another headache yesterday - a tough battle with four of the sport's major car makers who yesterday confirmed their plans to launch a breakaway world championship series by 2008.
Bernie Ecclestone, the holder of Formula One's commercial rights, found himself with another headache yesterday. In between fighting the banks for control of his interests in the sport, uniting nine of the 10 teams against Ferrari in a cost-saving proposal during last weekend's Brazilian Grand Prix, and deflecting criticism over the British Grand Prix situation, he now faces a tough battle with four of the sport's major car makers who yesterday confirmed their plans to launch a breakaway world championship series by 2008.
The Grand Prix World Championship group comprises BMW, Ferrari, Renault and Mercedes. Since the formation of GPWC Holdings BV in 2001 they have been arguing with Ecclestone's SLEC Holdings Ltd over the future of the sport. Ecclestone currently pays entrants just over 40 per cent of Formula One's annual commercial income, which is estimated at £450m, but the manufacturers want more. A preliminary deal was agreed in December 2003 after GPWC threatened to start a breakaway series in 2007. However, GPWC broke off talks in April claiming SLEC had failed to comply with the agreement.
"We have been more than patient with the current management of Formula One," the GPWC chairman, Jurgen Hubbert, said yesterday, "but recent developments have underlined the need for a structure that guarantees a stable and prosperous future of the sport."
The new series cannot start before 2008 because all 10 teams involved - and any that join before then - are bound legally by the Concorde Agreement which governs the sport. That expires at the end of 2007.
The Ferrari president, Luca di Montezemolo, fired the first shots when he openly criticised Ecclestone during the Italian Grand Prix in September and said: "Such an expensive sport cannot survive if we do not increase the revenues. It was a big mistake to sell the company to a German TV company and then to sell it to Kirch, and a mistake now that the sport is 75 per cent owned by banks. We have to look at something new."
England vs New Zealand second Test match report: England’s bold boast turns into hot air and humiliation
Fifa corruption: Sepp Blatter's right-hand man Jerome Valcke 'sent' $10m payment to Jack Warner in letter from the South African FA
England 'favourites' to host 2018 World Cup after Sepp Blatter resignation
Michael Schumacher: Bernie Ecclestone reveals why he can't visit former F1 champion because he 'doesn't want to see him like that'
Brendan Rodgers' job safe for now but Liverpool owners plan for improvement
- 1 California man brutally beat 82-year-old Sikh grandfather he mistook for 'one of those people'
- 3 Charles Kennedy 'had better judgement drunk than many sober politicians' says Ian Hislop
- 5 We have six months to save the world, says leading economist
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination
Migrants in Kos: Photos show real tragedy after Brits abroad complain of 'awkward' holidays
British tourists complain that impoverished boat migrants are making holidays 'awkward' in Kos
Michael Gove determined to scrap the Human Rights Act – even if Scotland retains it
Threat to scrap Human Rights Act could see UK follow Nazi example, warns UN official
Church of England 'one generation away from extinction' after dramatic loss of followers