Mosley Says F1 Split Looking More Likely

Formula One faces a real risk of being split into two rival series in 2008, world motor sport head Max Mosley said today.

Mosley Says F1 Split Looking More Likely

Formula One faces a real risk of being split into two rival series in 2008, world motor sport head Max Mosley said today.

The International Automobile Federation (FIA) president, speaking at a news conference ahead of Sunday's San Marino Grand Prix, added however that he was still hopeful of a solution before that date.

"I still suspect that some time between now and 2008 it will be resolved without ever coming to this," he said. "But for the moment it is set fair for two championships."

The 10 team principals met representatives of Formula One's five major European carmakers in the sport in Munich last week and signed a memorandum of understanding to work together in planning a new Grand Prix series.

A company, Grand Prix World Championship (GPWC), has been set up to pave the way for a series run by the car manufacturers from 2008 when an existing 'Concorde Agreement' between teams, the FIA and Formula One's commercial rights holders expires.

The majority of the rights are currently held by banks following the collapse of Germany's Kirch media empire. The remaining 25 percent are held by a family trust set up by Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone.

The teams and carmakers - Ford, Ferrari's parent Fiat, BMW, DaimlerChrysler and Renault - want control of the sport's revenues and a far greater slice of the profits.

Wrong Prediction

Mosley has in the past talked down the likelihood of the GPWC series getting off the ground, saying instead that he expected an agreement.

"It is beginning to look as though my prediction... that they would all reach agreement is wrong and that they are not going to reach agreement," he said.

"The reason that I think that the GPWC will go ahead is that all of the teams went to the meeting, all of the teams signed and all five GPWC principals were there. So it looks as though they are serious about their series, point one.

"Point two, I know that they have made offers to Bernie, the banks and everybody concerned, which have been rejected. And he (Ecclestone) and his associates have made offers to them which have been rejected.

"They've all been negotiating now for many, many months, which makes one think that they are not going to reach agreement. But, on the other hand, it is a very long time in the future."

Mosley said the FIA's role would be that of regulators, without favouring one series over another, and the body had no responsibility to prevent a split.

"We just have to make sure that motorsport is safe, fair and orderly," he said.

The FIA's Formula One World Championship would remain, but the governing body had an obligation under the Concorde Agreement to draw up the regulations for 2008 by the end of 2005, added Mosley.

"There is absolutely nothing to stop someone starting a rival series. And it would be wrong to prevent them doing that. Now, who will actually be in which series when push comes to shove is going to be quite interesting.

"It's one thing to participate in producing regulations and generally being involved, it's another to actually take the decision and say 'I'm going to enter this championship or that championship'," said Mosley.

"An awful lot of things will happen in the next five years before that decision finally gets taken."

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