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Last Updated: Sunday, 29 June, 2003, 11:23 GMT 12:23 UK
F1 stand-off 'close to end'
McLaren boss Ron Dennis
McLaren boss Dennis is an influential figure in F1 politics
The row over a breakaway championship that was threatening to tear Formula One apart is close to being resolved.

That is the view of McLaren boss Ron Dennis, a major figure in the GPWC, the company set up by F1's car manufacturers that has threatened to set up a breakaway series in 2008.

Dennis said at the European Grand Prix that the GPWC, the teams, F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone and the banks that own 75% of the sport were "very close to finding a good commercial balance for the future".

The GPWC - which involves DaimlerChrysler (Mercedes), Fiat (Ferrari), BMW, Ford (Jaguar) and Renault - wants a greater say in the running of F1 and has demanded a bigger share of the sport's revenues.

The possibility of a rival championship threatens the value of Slec, the company that controls F1's commercial rights.

Slec is 75%-owned by three investment banks with Ecclestone holding the remaining 25%.

Dennis said: "There was a meeting on Monday of last week between the banks involved, the representative of (Ecclestone's) Bambino Trust which is still holding 25% of Slec, Goldman Sachs and a representative of the GPWC," he said.

"I would say on the knowledge I have, which is reasonably comprehensive, that we are very close to finding a good commercial balance for the future.

If we do not involve the manufacturers, we are going to go nowhere
Norbert Haug
Mercedes motorsport boss

"It is inevitable that something that is as complex as this negotiation and has such a tremendous commercial impact on all the participants in Formula One is going to take a bit of time," said Dennis.

"I think it will be resolved well before the end of the year and probably sooner rather than later."

Dennis dismissed remarks by BMW motorsport director Gerhard Berger that the GPWC was effectively going nowhere and that BMW might even be considering withdrawing from it.

"Gerhard is a friend above all else so I'll measure my words," he said.

"He's speaking a load of rubbish and he's not involved. He has no idea of timing or the commercial parameters that exist at the moment."

Norbert Haug, motorsport boss of McLaren's engine partner Mercedes, agreed.

"If we do not have changes, if we do not involve the manufacturers, we are going to go nowhere," he added.

"I think they have every right to play a role and make sure there is a long term future that is good for everybody. It is good for the sport, they invest in the sport."







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