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Ecclestone cools breakaway talk

Bernie Ecclestone
Ecclestone insists that a breakaway is not a realistic threat

Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone has played down claims that teams could form their own championship because of unease over Max Mosley.

Mosley, president of the sport's governing body, the FIA, has been under pressure since a sex scandal in March.

Despite his winning a vote of confidence from FIA members it has intruded on talks on a new F1 contract.

"Nobody has discussed a breakaway," said Ecclestone, who insisted talks were focusing on the new deal.

The Concorde Agreement, the document by which F1 is governed and which ties the teams to the sport, expired at the end of last year.

That means the teams are theoretically free to set up their own championship, for which they would negotiate with circuits and television companies themselves.

This weekend's Canadian Grand Prix meeting has been dominated by Mosley.

I don't think anyone wants a breakaway - I think everyone wants to try to find a solution with Bernie and the FIA

Ross Brawn
Honda team principal
He called the vote among FIA members on his future after being accused by the News of the World of taking part in a "Nazi-style orgy" with prostitutes.

Mosley, the son of former British fascist leader Sir Oswald Mosley, accepts he visited the prostitutes but denies there were Nazi overtones.

The 68-year-old has launched a legal action against the newspaper alleging defamation and invasion of privacy.

But Ecclestone insisted that two meetings between himself and the team principals were just to discuss the Concorde Agreement, not a breakaway series.

"We have been discussing what we are putting in a Concorde Agreement, which we have spent two years trying to get signed," he said.

"But these guys [the teams] can never make up their minds - one team wants something, another team something else and another team another.

"I think Max would really like a Concorde Agreement a little more suited to the FIA, while the teams are against each other.

"It is really important we have one so everyone knows what the rules are."

Max Mosley
Mosley's position has caused concern among F1's teams and sponsors
Toyota motorsport president John Howett backed Ecclestone's claims.

"The primary discussion was the fact that the majority of teams have agreed the financial schedule and detailed legal wording and really the discussion was where we move forward to complete the renewal of the Concorde agreement," he said.

"For most of the teams, they want that to be a tripartite agreement involving the FIA as in the past. We have to wait and see if the FIA will sign that or not."

Despite the concern over Mosley's position, Howett said the mood amongst the teams was for a deal with the FIA.

"Everybody at the moment is saying we should at least interface with them, or at least Bernie should, as technically we have an agreement with him and he has an agreement with the FIA."

And Howett said Mosley's presence at the FIA was not necessarily a problem.

"He is the president of the FIA but it should be the FIA that really decides as a body," he said.

And Honda team boss Ross Brawn said: "I don't think anyone wants it [a breakaway]. It didn't happen before and it is unlikely now. I think everyone wants to try to find a solution with Bernie and the FIA."

There remains, however, the possibility of a split among the FIA member clubs.

[A sex scandal] didn't seem to affect Clinton and I do think there are parallels

Nick Craw
President, Automobile Competition Committee for the United States
Mosley won 103 of 169 votes in Tuesday vote at an FIA extraordinary general meeting in Paris.

But many of the bigger clubs - such as the automobile associations of the US and Germany - voted against him.

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live's Sportsweek, the American Automobile Association president, Robert Darbelnet repeated the claim that his organisation is considering its future in the FIA.

But Nick Craw, president of the US sporting authority Accus, said his organisation had no problem with Mosley.

Craw said Mosley had been the victim of a "fairly orchestrated conspiracy by one or more enemies to unseat" him.

He rejected concerns that Mosley would not be able to function effectively in his role because of the reluctance of senior international figures to be seen with him, and drew a parallel with the Monica Lewinsky scandal that engulfed former US president Bill Clinton.

"I would draw your attention to the fact that we had a USA President who was impeached and a lot of people said the same thing about him, but he served for another two years after that," Craw told 5 Live.

"So I think that concern is a bit overblown. It didn't seem to affect Clinton and I do think there are parallels."




see also
Ferrari boss makes Mosley U-turn
05 Jun 08 |  Formula One
F1 boss fears for Mosley future
04 Jun 08 |  Formula One
Mosley set to face vote on future
03 Jun 08 |  Formula One
The manoeuvres of Mosley
04 Jun 08 |  Formula One
Mosley should go, says Ecclestone
31 May 08 |  Formula One


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