Bayerische Landesbank chairman Gerhard Gribkowsky, now heading the SLEC board, believes the GPWC breakaway series is a real threat and says the banks will be interested in reaching a deal with the constructors.
In an interview that appears tomorrow in Der Spiegel, Gribkowsky told the magazine constructors should have a say in how many Formula One races there were and where, saying this should be driven by business interests.
"The moves into China and Bahrain were without doubt right," he said. "It would be desirable to also go to Russia and India. With only two races in North America we are under-represented in comparison with the purchasing power.
"Our aim is to guarantee the sport's long-term stability. At some point the time may come when we say 'okay, we're leaving again'.
Asked when such a decision might fall, he said: "From today's point of view, in three to five years. Not earlier."
But Gribkowsky said the banks, who recently won a lawsuit against Ecclestone's company, are looking at a solution that involves Bernie Ecclestone, not excludes him.
"We would be ill-advised to exclude Ecclestone as a key figure of Formula One racing," the German said. "In the course of three decades he has built up close ties with the industry, with sponsors, race track operators and other parties, and you have got to recognise his lifetime achievement.
"But there are limits. We are no longer going to be pushed into a role in which we carry the equity risk but have no say in matters. We have demonstrated that we are prepared to fight for our position."