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Last Updated: Monday, 24 January, 2005, 13:19 GMT
Ecclestone denies F1 cash offer
F1 racing cars on a circuit
F1 is the setting for a power tussle
Bernie Ecclestone has rejected reports that he will offer Formula One teams a much larger share of profits to kill off threats of a rival championship.

The Sunday Telegraph had reported that Mr Ecclestone would tempt the sport's top 10 teams with guaranteed revenues of $3bn (1.6bn) between 2007 and 2012.

But Mr Ecclestone told BBC News the story was "complete nonsense", with all teams likely to agree a deal by March.

Teams have been calling for a bigger slice of the sport's profits.

They currently get about $15m (8m) a season from Formula One, while the Sunday Telegraph suggested that during a crunch meeting on Tuesday this would be pumped up to a minimum of $40m (21.3m).

'More money'

Mr Ecclestone told the BBC News website that Formula One teams would naturally ask for more money whenever contracts were up for renewal.

The worst scenario is if four or five teams agree to this new deal and four or five don't
Paul Stoddard, owner of the Minardi F1 team

But deriding the Sunday Telegraph report, Mr Ecclestone said "I don't do business through the media" and insisted that Tuesday's Formula One summit was nothing more than a regular "technical meeting".

Last week, he secured the support of champion manufacturer Ferrari after the Italian carmaker was given a signing on fee of $100m (53m).

Mr Ecclestone said in line with tradition he had first made a deal with Ferrari, and would now take this benchmark agreement to the other teams.

"I hope to get an agreement with all teams in one to two months," he said.

A week ago Mr Ecclestone told BBC Sport that he was offering the teams an extra $500m (267m) over the next three years - or about $16m per team per year.

The Sunday Telegraph report had suggested that Mr Ecclestone would offer other teams much more, a signing on fee of at least $35m (18.6m) each and a higher profit share that would result in a minimum income of $40m a year per team.

Rift asunder?

GPWC, a consortium of F1 manufacturers including BMW and Mercedes, has recently stepped up its efforts to set up a rival racing championship.

The Sunday Telegraph had suggested that these moves had forced Mr Ecclestone's hand.

Team owners, however, warned that there was a danger of creating a rift in the sport.

Paul Stoddard, owner of the Minardi team, told the Sunday Telegraph that "it is not viable to have two championships".

"It is a recipe for an absolute disaster," he explained. "The worst scenario is if four or five teams agree to this new deal and four or five don't."

Formula One Holdings (FOH), the company that runs the Grand Prix circuit, is majority owned by Mr Ecclestone's family trust company Bambino Holdings.

Mr Ecclestone is thought to have amassed a fortune of 2.3bn from F1.



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