Lauda: Teams need dialogue with Kirch

Niki Lauda, the head of Ford's Premier Performance Division which includes Jaguar Racing, says that Formula 1's teams must get together with the German Kirch media group and discuss the commercial future of the sport

Lauda: Teams need dialogue with Kirch

According to a report in Autosport's sister publication Autocar, Lauda says there has been very little contact between the teams and Kirch, which owns the majority share of Bernie Ecclestone's SLEC family trust that controls the commercial rights to F1.

Further complicating matters is the fact that a group of F1 manufacturers - comprising Ferrari (Fiat), Mercedes, BMW, Renault and Ford - are threatening to create a breakaway championship from 2008.

"It cannot be right that we are left to read in the newspapers what is going on," said Lauda. "I agree with the smaller F1 teams who are worried that the big manufacturers seem to be negotiating on behalf of everybody.

"When Bernie made the investments in F1 which have brought about all the current TV coverage, all the constructors were happy because he was one of us. But as ownership [of the commercial rights] has changed, the future needs to be discussed in detail. We don't know what the new owner [Kirch] might do."

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