Ecclestone: Formula One has Healthy Future

Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone declared the sport in good shape on Wednesday after securing the support of champions Ferrari until 2012 and promising more money for all teams.

Ecclestone: Formula One has Healthy Future

Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone declared the sport in good shape on Wednesday after securing the support of champions Ferrari until 2012 and promising more money for all teams.

"It's what we should have done a year ago," he told Reuters in a telephone interview. "It's good, we're in good shape."

Ferrari, the governing International Automobile Federation and his Formula One Management had earlier announced an extension to the existing 'Concorde Agreement'.

The agreement covers the commercial side of the sport, as well as day to day race matters, and is due to expire at the end of 2007 when carmakers have threatened to set up their own championship.

Ferrari's move came as a surprise, with the Fiat-owned company a founder member of that Grand Prix World Championship (GPWC), along with Renault, BMW and Mercedes. However Ecclestone saw no conflict of interest and said Ferrari had quit the GPWC last year.

"Ferrari resigned from the GPWC before," he said. "They told them they were going to go and they resigned from it last year."

A GPWC spokesman said that was not the case and Ferrari remained involved to date.

Ecclestone said he had spoken to all of the teams except Jordan, whose future remains open to speculation with reports suggesting a takeover by Canadian businessman Alex Shnaider could be imminent, and the reaction was positive.

"They are all relieved," he said. "Their main concern is that the technical regulations don't keep changing. That's what's cost them a fortune."

Secure Future

Ecclestone said sponsors would also know now that they could invest in a sport with a secure future.

The teams have been promised more money, with the offer of an additional $500 million between them over the next three years, if they agree to what will be a revised version of the Concorde agreement.

"If they don't they won't get the money," said Ecclestone, who said a new document would be drawn up to incorporate changes.

Asked whether Ferrari's move had effectively ended the threat of a rival series, he replied: "I don't know if it's the end of anything.

"There's lots of rivals. There's the A1 series starting soon," he added, referring to a Dubai-based championship due to start in September to fill the gap in the European winter when there is no Formula One.

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