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Last Updated: Saturday, 24 April, 2004, 12:42 GMT 13:42 UK
F1 split threat dismissed
Minardi boss Paul Stoddart
Stoddart is dismissive of the breakaway threat
Minardi boss Paul Stoddart has dismissed talk of a breakaway world championship as "idle threats".

Five of Formula One's car manufacturers said on Friday that they had broken off talks with F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone about the sport's future structure.

But Stoddart said: "If certain teams want to break away, fine. There will still be plenty left, including Minardi, in the FIA world championship.

"But it won't happen. There will not be a breakaway. It's a non-starter."

BMW, DaimlerChrysler, Fiat, Renault and Ford have pulled out of talks with the shareholders of the company that owns the commercial rights to F1, Slec.

Three German banks own 75% of the company, while Ecclestone's private family trust owns the rest.

The talks have been ongoing for years, but this latest development comes four months after it was announced that the various parties had reached an initial agreement.

But Stoddart said this latest announcement by GPWC was nothing more than a negotiating ploy as the two sides wait to see who will blink first.

Stoddart also said he was not optimistic about the outcome of talks in Monaco next month about proposals for the future shape of F1 on the track.

It's about time people actually woke up to themselves and sorted out the problems instead of pretending to do it
Paulo Stoddart
Minardi boss
Max Mosley, the president of motorsport's governing body the FIA, has put forward a raft of ideas aimed at spicing up the F1 show.

Stoddart said: "It should be like when they elect a pope - put everybody in a room, lock the bloody doors and until the white smoke comes out of the chimney, then nobody goes away.

"That's the only way you are ever going to make any ground with this because we have talked about things for three years now and nothing has happened.

"It's just sad we are going to have another round of discussions to discuss what we have already discussed.

"We are getting closer to finding a solution for all the problems in F1, and hopefully these meetings in Monaco will go some way towards doing it, but I've my doubts.

"It takes a long time to decide anything, and when you think you've decided something, it all changes again.

"It's about time people actually woke up to themselves, sat down and sorted out the problems instead of pretending to do it.

"But it's simply an agenda right now, a discussion document, so let's have the talks first and hopefully out of that there will be a compromise - there always is - and we'll produce a set of technical regulations that will be good for 2008.

"Talk doesn't pay bills, and I'm getting sick of the talk, so let's have some action."

F1 breakaway fears fade
04 Dec 03  |  Formula One

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