Ecclestone Prefers Buyout by the Teams

Just hours after claiming he is not interested in selling Formula One to a Hong Kong company, Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone has revealed that he instead wants to do a deal with the sport's teams and manufacturers

Ecclestone Prefers Buyout by the Teams

A report in The Sunday Telegraph suggested that a media unit of Hong Kong conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa was interested in a deal to buy out the 75 percent of shares in F1 holding company SLEC owned by three German banks.

Ecclestone has made it clear that he wants to distance himself from wanting to do a deal with the Hutchison company, but he has instead revealed that he is in talks for F1's teams and manufacturers to take over ownership of the sport.

"I spoke to Hutchison," said Ecclestone at Hockenheim on Sunday. "They sent a boy to do a man's job. We are not interested in selling to them. We get offers like this everyday, but it is not what we want for the future of F1.

"What I would like is for the teams and the manufacturers to sort themselves out and own the sport so they can then control everything from the commercial rights to the TV, nice and beautiful."

Ecclestone suggests that his plans for the teams and manufacturers is not just his wish, though, because discussions have already taken place.

"Talks with the manufacturers are ongoing," he explained. "There is no time frame but we are confident we can sort it out."

With the teams and manufacturers planning a breakaway series having formulated their planned rules package for 2008, McLaren boss Ron Dennis warned earlier this weekend that commercial issues with Ecclestone remain a major cause for contention.

"Everybody has a common objective, which is to have a better Formula One," said Dennis at the German Grand Prix.

"I think that probably the most contentious issue that will emerge will be the economics of Formula One versus the regulatory or sporting aspects, and when you see everything that is currently in the system from whatever source there is a remarkable level of commonality.

"That remains to be discussed and those subjects that we need to come to a common opinion on are probably less than 25 percent of the whole, as it were."

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Author Jonathan Noble
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