F1 Chiefs Rule Out Breakaway Series

Formula One's chiefs remain adamant that there will be no breakaway championship from the sport in the future, despite fresh moves by the manufacturers this week to finalise plans for the new series

F1 Chiefs Rule Out Breakaway Series

A majority of the sport's outfits met in Munich this week to press ahead with the formation of the breakaway series, just days after Minardi boss Paul Stoddart claimed it is inevitable that the series would happen.

But despite the increasingly tense political situation in the sport, FIA president Max Mosley and F1's commercial rights holder Bernie Ecclestone are both adamant that Formula One's future is safe.

"I don't believe there will be a breakaway," said Mosley. "Everybody can look at the United States and see what happened when IRL and CART split. More than that, of the six manufacturers currently in F1, if we had breakaway, two or three would stop and say this is not what we came into F1 for.

"If they confront the reality of doing it, it just won't happen. It is all a game. It is posturing. It's wrong of me to say that because it winds the team bosses up and makes them more puffed up, but the fact is these companies will not do that because financially it is only viable at the moment with one championship.

"We do need a compromise. One by one we will get to sensible agreed positions."

Ecclestone echoed Mosley's comments about the possibility of the manufacturer-led series happening. "I don't take the threat of a breakaway seriously," he told the Daily Mirror. "If it happened, the FIA Championship would continue. Maybe it would have different regulations but it would continue.

"There have been thousands of different formats and regulations over the years and lots of famous teams that have come and gone. Only Ferrari is still around. Do the public give a stuff about the engine manufacturers? Not really. But they do care about Ferrari and Ferrari would still be in the FIA Championship."

McLaren technical director Adrian Newey said at Silverstone on Friday that the political impact of the breakaway threat was having a negative effect on the sport - and claimed it needed to be resolved before plans could be made for future regulations.

"I think at the moment it's a real problem, the political arena is a problem that needs to be addressed before we can go on to really sort out the technical side," explained Newey. "Obviously you've got the WGPC (manufacturers' group) with its teams looking at what's going to happen in 2008 and that's heading in a different direction to that of the FIA and Ferrari.

"Until everybody can come together, then it's a problem. I hope desperately that something can be thrashed out because I can't imagine really wants two different series."

Like Mosley, Newey also cited the example of single-seater racing in the United States as evidence that F1 would be badly damaged by a split.

"We've seen in America what's happened there. There used to be a very strong ChampCar series that everybody watched. [It] split and now single-seater racing in America is hardly watched. The only real winners out of that scenario has been NASCAR.

"It would be a tragedy if that happens, but that really has to be addressed, and that's the solution that somehow we have to find. Then from there, hopefully, we can start to really address the technical problems."

He added: "I think the first thing that really needs to be addressed is trying to get on top of the political situation and I don't quite know how we're going to do that and it's obviously outside this meeting or this conference to do that, but I think to me that's the biggest concern."

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