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  Sunday, 7 July, 2002, 08:31 GMT 09:31 UK
F1 breakaway 'one step closer'
FIA president Max Mosley
Mosley said the FIA would officiate two series

The spectre of a breakaway Formula One series in 2008 has raised its head again at the British Grand Prix.

F1's European car manufacturers have claimed a "significant step forward" after meeting teams to discuss their plans for a new championship.

The car companies are offering the teams a much better financial deal than they get from their current agreement with F1 commercial boss Bernie Ecclestone.

And McLaren team boss Ron Dennis, who in recent months has said he expects the parties to find a common solution, admitted that there were serious issues to be resolved.

However, Max Mosley, president of motorsport's governing body the FIA, said he still believed there would ultimately only be one series.

Dennis is both a team owner and someone who has close links with GPWC, the company set up by DaimlerChrysler, Fiat, Ford, Renault and BMW.

McLaren is 40% owned by DaimlerChrysler, which supplies the team's Mercedes engines.

GPWC met the teams on Friday at Silverstone and gave details of the way it intends to organise its new series.

GPWC said in a statement: "The teams expressed their determination to work together with GPWC to secure the future of the sport.

"The meeting today represents a significant step forward for GPWC and for the GPWC series."

McLaren boss Ron Dennis
Dennis says there are issues to be resolved

Dennis said: "There is a contract between the teams, the FIA and FOM (Ecclestone's company) that runs through to 2007.

"That is the Concorde Agreement and no-one intends to break that agreement.

"But all of the teams don't feel the agreement is now equitable, so with the manufacturers we're attempting to find a better and more equitable way for the future."

He added: "There is a desire to find a common way forward."

Dennis added that the liquidation of the Kirsch media group - which controls 75% of the shareholding in Slec, the holding company for Ecclestone's F1 empire - was complicating the issue.

GPWC was set up after Kirsch bought its stake in Slec, which has the commercial rights to F1 for the next century.

The car companies were concerned that Kirsch's heavy involvement in pay TV would mean F1 was taken off free-to-air broadcasting.

That would be a major blow to the car companies.


The danger is that if they go on talking about it for much longer it will start to interfere with the sponsors, make people uneasy
Max Mosley

They are in F1 for the greater exposure that terrestrial TV provides, and the return on their investment would not be sufficient if the sport was only on pay TV.

Despite the split, Mosley said an accommodation between the parties was still the most likely outcome.

"My own view is that it will all end up being one championship," he said.

"Everybody would lose if there were two championships.

"The FIA doesn't care, we'd regulate both quite happily, but it wouldn't be commercially very sensible and I think that's widely recognised.

"The danger is that if they go on talking about it for much longer it will start to interfere with the sponsors, make people uneasy. And that would damage F1 as a whole.

"What we have been saying to everybody concerned is: 'By all means have your negotiations but you must get this done quickly. Don't go on talking about it.'"

In-depth guide to the 2002 Formula One season

On-track action

Our man at Silverstone

Jonathan Legard

F1 2002
Links to more Formula One stories are at the foot of the page.


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