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Teams hopeful of logo-dispute solution

The Silverstone paddockMcLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh remains hopeful that a solution can be found to the ongoing row over sponsors' logos being displayed in the pits and paddock.

Pressure has been put on teams by Allsport, which owns all trackside advertising, to remove sponsors' logos from the garages and prominent areas in the paddock.

The dispute stepped up a gear at Silverstone when teams were also asked to remove the tractor units of their team trucks because they were showing sponsors' logos too prominently.

Although no solution was found to the dispute at Silverstone, despite several conversations between the teams, Bernie Ecclestone, and Allsport, Whitmarsh is hopeful that the matter will not drag on too much longer.

"There is a difference of opinion," said Whitmarsh when asked by AUTOSPORT about the situation. "Everyone has taken a pretty sensible view on it. We all know that we have to find an accommodation, and you are not always going to agree.

"I think that the teams feel that what they have doing is fairly reasonable, but I think we also have to respect that FOM is out there trying to sell circuit signage. And it is in our interests that FOM does the best job it can."

When asked to confirm whether it was true teams had been asked to remove sponsor logos from their garages, Whitmarsh said: "There was a request. We spoke not with Bernie but the APM organisation (Allsport parent company Allsopp Parker & Marsh)

"We don't have a contractual relationship with APM. We spoke to Bernie on Friday and we said: 'Look let's find a solution and compromise.' But I don't think anyone changed anything."

It is not clear whether or not teams will be requested to remove their tractor units from their trucks again at Hockenheim this weekend, but Whitmarsh was adamant that the paddock looked much worse without them.

"I've told Bernie that," he said. "I think that the majority of these trucks are designed to have tractor units. The tractor units are pretty smart and look pretty impressive lined up.

"I also think it adds commercial value to some of those people supplying those units. So I said to Bernie - 1) go down there and look because personally I think it looks a lot worse without it, and 2) particularly for the small teams, they will find themselves having to pay a lot more for tractor units in the future if they cannot have them on display in an impressive way in the paddock."

Sources have suggested that the dispute over the display of sponsors' logos is the first salvo in what is likely to be tough negotiations between the teams and Ecclestone for a new Concorde Agreement, the document by which F1 is run.

A new deal is due to be signed for the start of the 2013, and teams are likely to demand more of a share of the revenue that they get at the moment - something Ecclestone will not be too keen for.

Read more about the sponsors dispute here.

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