di Montezemolo sets deadline

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has reportedly set a deadline of January 1st 2004 for Bernie Ecclestone and investment banks, which own the majority of F1's commercial rights, to find a suitable resolution for the future of F1. If not, the...

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has reportedly set a deadline of January 1st 2004 for Bernie Ecclestone and investment banks, which own the majority of F1's commercial rights, to find a suitable resolution for the future of F1. If not, the manufacturers in the sport will commit to the Grand Prix World Championship (GPWC).

The GPWC -- comprised of Ferrari, Mercedes, BMW, Renault and Ford --intends to form its own series from 2008 if financial and commercial issues cannot be agreed upon within the current structure of F1.

"We (the manufacturers) would like a solution with Mr Ecclestone and the banks," said di Montoezemolo, according to the Financial Times newspaper. "If not, it will be bad, but it won't be a tragedy."

"While Bernie Ecclestone was the owner, everyone accepted most of the arrangements…But these things have changed. The carmakers have a bigger presence, and the cost of racing becomes bigger and bigger."

"In no other sport are the teams deprived of the main revenue streams -- trackside advertising and ticket sales -- while having to share just 47 percent of the gross income from TV rights. The simple truth is that without the carmakers they cannot make a championship."

FIA president Max Mosley said that he had no right to stand in the way if the GPWC went ahead, but doubted it would ever happen. The GPWC and F1 teams signed an agreement earlier this year on the terms of the future series but Frank Williams said it was not a definite commitment.

The Williams boss believes it would be better for the current organization to reach a solution: "I think we all realise that a lot of water has got to flow under the bridge before the GPWC becomes a real series," he said last month. "We know a deal is the best solution."

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About this article
Series Automotive , Formula 1
Drivers Luca di Montezemolo , Frank Williams , Bernie Ecclestone
Teams Williams