Sauber signs up to team's plans

The manufacturers planning their own breakaway championship from the start of 2008 have received another major boost, with the independent team Sauber agreeing to join the current plans being made for the series

Sauber signs up to team's plans

Sauber was one of three teams, the others being Jordan and Red Bull Racing, that went away from last week's presentation by the manufacturers to nine F1 teams needing time to consider its position.

At the meeting six teams, Williams, Mercedes-Benz, BAR, Renault, Toyota and Minardi, instantly signed-up to its Memorandum of Understanding.

This MOU is based on a document called 'Governing Principles for Grand Prix Motor Racing' which was agreed between the five manufacturers backing the series at an earlier meeting. This document outlines several doctrines that the manufacturers want the future top-level single seater category to adhere to.

A Sauber spokesman told autosport.com: "It's true. We have signed up with the Memorandum of Understanding."

Although the support of seven teams will be welcomed by the manufacturers, it does not mean that any of these outfits will definitely commit to the series from the start of 2008. They will still need to be completely convinced that it is the best way forward for them - with F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone almost certainly likely to come back with fresh financial offers to tempt teams to sign up to F1.

Such support could grow this week, however, with representatives of the teams due to meet to start planning new regulations for the series. It is also thought that the formerly named 'GPWC' will also be dissolved, to be replaced by a new company that has been created in association with the newly joined Japanese car makers Toyota and Honda.

Only last week, McLaren boss Ron Dennis made it clear that he wanted his team to be in a position so that it would be ready to pull out of F1 and switch to the manufacturer series for 2008 if he felt it was the right thing to do.

"From 2008 we want to be in a position whereby we do not have to participate in F1," said Dennis, speaking at his McLaren Technology Centre. "We are trying to get ourselves in a position where we have a choice to withdraw from F1 if it is not commercially attractive to us."

Sauber's decision also provides further evidence that the team is no longer politically linked with Ferrari, even though it runs the Italian manufacturers' customer engines. Ferrari is currently alone in having committed to F1 until the end of 2012.

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