Ecclestone wins circuit support

Bernie Ecclestone's hopes of successfully fighting off the threat of a manufacturer-led breakaway championship have been given a massive boost with grand prix racing's promoters getting behind a campaign to commit their futures to Formula 1

Ecclestone wins circuit support

Autosport.com has learned that Australian Grand Prix boss Ron Walker has written a series of letters to his fellow race promoters urging them to reject overtures from the manufacturer-backed GPWC and instead commit fully to Ecclestone and F1.

And Walker has already had overwhelming feedback from the promoters showing support for Ecclestone - a move that will serve as a massive blow to the GPWC, which could now be forced to find less well known and lower standard tracks for their championship.

Speaking exclusively to autosport.com, Walker confirmed that he has written to the promoters and claimed it was important that Ecclestone was shown as much support as possible.

"I have written to all the promoters on the F1 Commission urging them to support Bernie after all the years that he had supported them," said Walker. "I have also asked for a meeting with them at the next F1 Commission meeting to talk about loyalty - and I have also written to all the promoters outside the F1 Commission seeking their continued support for Bernie, who has done so much for them.

"The support has been resounding - up to the point where 98 percent of the people who have phoned me have said they will support Bernie to the end. This is a great victory for a guy that started the business. And as long as the promoters will support him, I believe the teams will do the same."

The move to support Ecclestone has come at the very time when the manufacturers' plans for their own breakaway championship are accelerating, thanks to the commitment of Toyota and Honda to their scheme.

But if the manufacturers cannot find any top-level circuits to host races, it could find trouble trying to persuade sceptics about the quality of its championship.

Walker added: "If there are no circuits available, it means that the GPWC have got to go and get secondary circuits through the world to stage their events. And clearly, when you talk to all the sponsors, there is no room for two F1 events. It simply doesn't work."

DaimlerChrysler board member Jurgen Hubbert, the key figure in the GPWC, has written to Walker asking for a meeting to discuss Melbourne's future plans at this year's Australian Grand Prix.

But with Walker fully committed to F1, it appears the GPWC would only be left with the possibility of a race elsewhere in Australia - which would be tough to find considering the huge success of the Melbourne Grand Prix.

"I am not afraid or concerned about the GPWC allocating the race in another state of Australia," said Walker. "It doesn't bother me, because clearly there is no room in Australia for two F1 events. We own the brand 'F1' and 'grand prix' in Australia so they cannot run it under those names."

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