Teams on collision course with FIA

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The Independent Online

Under the proposals the Grand Prix World Championship would be changed to the Grand Prix Manufacturers' Association.

Representatives of BAR, Jordan, McLaren, Minardi-Cosworth, Red Bull Racing, Renault, Sauber-Petronas, Toyota and Williams, and the five manufacturers (BMW, DaimlerChrysler, Honda, Renault and Toyota), have been working on the proposals which would take effect from January 2008.

A statement issued yesterday said: "The vision is for a fair and transparent sport with well-funded and highly competitive teams on every row of the grid.

"Formula One has to be at the forefront of technology . . . [but] the introduction of potentially expensive innovations should not jeopardise the commercial and sporting viability of independent teams."

The proposals put the teams on a collision course with the existing powerbrokers, Mosley, and Bernie Ecclestone of Formula One Management, the holder of the sport's commercial rights. The GPMA now hope to open constructive talks between both parties.

It is thought that one aim is to persuade the FIA to sanction the new structure in place of the old, something that Ecclestone is sure to resist. But the Ecclestone family owns only 25 per cent of the business; the remaining 75 per cent is owned by investment banks who are seeking full control, and if they get it they may make a deal with the GPMA.

The McLaren chief, Ron Dennis, said: "I think that probably the most contentious issue that will emerge will be the economics of Formula One versus the regulatory or sporting aspects, and when you see everything that is in the system from whatever source there is a remarkable level of commonality."

And remarkable unity. Therein, it is becoming clear, lies the GPMA's strength.