F1: Ecclestone stirs breakaway rumours in time for Magny Cours

By LJ Hutchins

CalendarMonday, June 16th, 2008

 
 

Just when you thought it was safe to start reading French Grand Prix previews… along comes the formerly tight-lipped Bernie Ecclestone, now positively garrulous on the subject of a split from the FIA.

The story, reported by the BBC, The Times and The Telegraph among others, appears to be based on Ecclestone publicly pointing out that no Concorde Agreement currently exists and that Max Mosley is refusing to negotiate one.

Which, in Ecclestone’s view, means that the FIA can’t compel the F1 teams to do anything whatsoever.

On the other hand, as he points out, a commercial agreement has been signed with Formula One Management, which is run by him.

In The Times motor racing correspondent Ed Gorman describes these comments as part of “a continuing bout of megaphone diplomacy between Ecclestone and his former friend.” Which sounds about right to us.

Here are the salient quotes, from an interview given by Ecclestone to that paper: “The teams can do what they like.

“To keep sponsors happy, we are trying to say we can’t break away. But it could well be that it will happen.”

“What the FIA doesn’t have, which is the most important thing for them, is an agreement with the teams they would have with the Concorde Agreement.

“There is no agreement between the teams and the FIA. There is a commercial agreement that has been signed by the teams and Formula One Management, so the teams can do what they like.”

The best guess anyone has come up with about what Ecclestone may have in mind relates to the fact that his company holds the trademark on the term ‘GP1’ – and that he has once, ostensibly by accident, used it when talking about F1 in a newspaper interview.

But somehow all this has the feeling of being the tip of a very tall iceberg, with little chance of us mere fans ever finding out what is going on under the surface.

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