New F1 Deal is Close, Says Dennis

McLaren chairman Ron Dennis said today that the future of Formula One will be secured "sooner rather than later" after a recent meeting between the shareholders of the sport's commercial rights holding company SLEC and the GPWC.

New F1 Deal is Close, Says Dennis

McLaren chairman Ron Dennis said today that the future of Formula One will be secured "sooner rather than later" after a recent meeting between the shareholders of the sport's commercial rights holding company SLEC and the GPWC.

The breakaway GPWC (Grand Prix World Championship) series was created by five of the sport's biggest manufacturers - Ferrari, BMW, Mercedes, Renault and Ford - because of problems over the revenue they receive from Formula One.

The companies believe they should be handed a greater share of the commercial pie when the Concorde Agreement, which governs the distribution of wealth within the sport, is renegotiated before 2007.

A meeting was held a week last Monday between the banks which own 75 percent of SLEC, a representative of the Bambino trust, which holds 25 percent of SLEC, Goldman-Sacks, and a representative of the GPWC organisation.

"I would say, based on the knowledge I have, which is reasonably comprehensive, that we are very close to finding a good commercial balance for the future," Dennis said. "It's inevitable that something as complex as these negotiations that has such a tremendous commercial impact on all the participants of Formula One is going to take time but I think it will be resolved well before the end of the year."

An agreement on the commercial rights is crucial for the future of Formula One as it stands because the manufacturers have created a company to set up a new series if they do not get what they are demanding.

Dennis dismissed reported remarks by BMW motorsport director Gerhard Berger that the GPWC was effectively going nowhere and that BMW might even be considering withdrawing from it.

"Gerhard is a friend above all else so I'll measure my words," he said with a smile. "He's speaking a load of rubbish and he's not involved. He has no idea of timing or the commercial parameters that exist at the moment."

Mercedes motorsport boss Norbert Haug agreed.

"If we do not have changes, if we do not involve the manufacturers, we are going to go nowhere," he added. "I think they have every right to play a role and make sure there is a long term future that is good for everybody. It is good for the sport, they invest in the sport."

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