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GPMA confident of deal with Ecclestone

The manufacturers planning a breakaway from Formula One are confident that they are edging closer to a settlement deal with Bernie Ecclestone over the future of the sport, has learned, despite making no major breakthrough in a meeting on Friday.

Representatives of the Grand Prix Manufacturers' Association (GPMA), which is made up of BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Renault, Honda and Toyota, held a four-hour meeting with Ecclestone at the end of last week to discuss the latest situation in talks over F1's future beyond 2007.

Although the discussions did not result in any significant progress being made in terms of finding a settlement, sources have claimed that the talks were 'positive'.

One source told "We feel quite good about where the situation is heading."

The GPMA is still awaiting final confirmation on the details of the recent F1 sell-off to CVC Capital Partners, including EU clearance in terms of competition law and whether American bank Lehman Brother's shares in the sport will be bought out.

However, it is believed that the sport's commercial situation is no longer the major sticking point in the talks - with some concern believed to have been raised about the cost-cutting rules package on the table for 2008.

Only last week, Honda Racing Development president Yasuhiro Wada expressed his company's concern about the move to cut back on technology in the sport in a bid to reduce costs.

"I think we see some signs of getting close and getting some compromise with some good discussions going on but after seeing the 2008 regulations proposals from the FIA, many people are upset with it and not happy with that," Wada told reporters in Barcelona.

"So we need to talk with the FIA about the future regulations."

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