Ferrari president warns Bernie

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has warned Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone that time is fast running out if he is going to stop the sport's manufacturers from pressing ahead with their plans for a breakaway series from the start of 2008

Ferrari president warns Bernie

In a move designed to further increase pressure on Ecclestone to agree to hand over more of the sport's revenues to the teams, amid suggestions the sport's commercial boss is about to table a £260 million package, di Montezemolo has indicated that the manufacturers will not be easily swayed.

With their plans for the Grand Prix World Championship (GPWC) advancing steadily behind the scenes, and a 2008 debut still being planned, di Montezemolo claimed in an interview with German newspaper Welt Am Sonntag on Sunday that he was far from troubled about the possibility of a breakaway.

"I see light at the end of tunnel," he said. "The Concorde Agreement, which has regulated the business of F1 since the beginning of the 1980's, runs out at the end of 2007. That means that Ferrari and all the other teams are finally free and will be released from a strange position.

"There will be no war or two series running. Instead in 2008 there will be only one Formula 1 world championship and the decision over it will be made in 2005. Whether this world champion series will be called Golden Series or Champions League or something else does not matter to me. I know that Ecclestone possesses some rights to the use of the name regarding F1, but that is not a problem for me. There is no name problem."

Di Montezemolo and Ferrari have long been key driving forces in the move towards the GPWC breakaway and their financial demands have been no secret - with teams clearly unhappy at currently being given just 47 per cent of the sport's television revenues.

"My goal is to distribute in the future 80 per cent of all incomes to the teams and the manufacturers," added di Montezemolo. "Whoever regulates the new F1 must change the distribution of profits and the power of the teams and manufacturers.

"We want to contribute to the strategy. It cannot be that the main participants lost control of F1 to only one person - Ecclestone, who takes the lion's share of the income and we are left with peanuts."

And in a final warning to Ecclestone, di Montezemolo has made it clear that any agreement over the future running of the sport will almost certainly have to be approved by Ferrari.

"Nobody may forget that Ferrari, for Formula 1, is important. Whatever happens in F1, if someone wants to change something or has new ideas, then he must come to Maranello. Then we will see..."

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