Stoddart: F1 Split a Real Danger

Formula One is heading for a disastrous split unless the teams and governing body mend fences and work out a solution together, Minardi boss Paul Stoddart warned on Sunday

Stoddart: F1 Split a Real Danger

The Australian, embroiled in a high-profile political battle with FIA president Max Mosley, said he would love to concentrate on sporting matters. "The politics are such that if we ignore them we do so at our peril," he told reporters at a meeting billed as 'Stoddy's Sunday Sermon' at the Malaysian Grand Prix.

"If anyone thinks this is not heading towards two championships in 2008, they haven't been in the same meetings that I've been in. We do all know the real alternative (to a single championship) is actually disaster."

Formula One is divided between World Champions Ferrari, the only team to have agreed an extension of the existing commercial agreement to 2012, and major manufacturers planning their own series from 2008. That group has a core of seven teams, with independents Jordan and Red Bull biding their time.

"We've got to get Max and Ferrari back into the meetings," said Stoddart. "There are problems, serious problems. We can either ignore them and hope they will go away...or we can deal with it to the point where commonsense does prevail and we actually all get round and talk about it."

While team bosses agree that any split like that of CART/IRL in the United States would be disastrous, most people in Formula One remain convinced a solution will be reached.

The manufacturers, fighting for control of the billion dollar sport, want transparent governance and the lion's share of the revenues for the teams rather than commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone. They also want a level playing field, rather than the current Concorde agreement where Ferrari enjoy special favours.

They are working on a framework for the sport beyond 2007, with working groups set up to look at legal, technical and sporting issues. The GPWC company, made up of Renault, BMW and Mercedes after the departure of Ford and Ferrari, will be transformed shortly into a new manufacturers' association to include Japanese carmakers Honda and Toyota.

Stoddart made clear the other teams could not accept what Ferrari had apparently agreed. "My understanding is that Ferrari has negotiated in their signing of the new Concorde an absolute veto...just like the U.N. they can veto any decision made by the rest of the teams - on their own," said Stoddart. "Well, what good's that going to do?"

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