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Ferrari defiant over British GP

Ferrari has broken its silence over the money row that is hanging over the British and French Grands Prix - and blamed its refusal to agree financial terms to race in the two events on the political games played by F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone rather than its own personal greed

Ferrari defiant over British GP

The fate of the races at Silverstone and Magny-Cours has been thrust back into the spotlight after Autosport revealed that Ferrari was unhappy about the commercial terms being offered to the F1 teams for taking part in the events.

Because the races were the last to agree contracts with Ecclestone, they were deemed to have been the 18th and 19th on the 2005 calendar - meaning that teams were allowed to demand extra finance for taking part in them.

That is because the Concorde Agreement, the document by which F1 is run, puts a ceiling on the F1 calendar for 17 events - and anything above that needs a separate deal to be agreed between the teams and Ecclestone.

And although nine teams agreed the financial package to take part in the races with Ecclestone before Christmas, Ferrari has yet to sign off the plans - placing a question mark over the events that could in a worst-case scenario force the events to become non-world championship.

But after suggestions that Ferrari was only refusing to sign up for the races because it wanted more money than the other teams, the outfit's technical director has instead turned the tables on Ecclestone and blamed him for the situation.

"We want to race at Silverstone and we want to race at Magny-Cours," said Brawn, speaking at Autosport International on Friday. "I am an Englishman and Jean Todt is a Frenchman, so we want to race at those two races.

"But there is a complex commercial situation where for reasons we don't understand Magny-Cours and Silverstone became the 18th and 19th races, and we think that is against the constitution of the FIA [Concorde Agreement]."

The inference is that Ferrari believes it is entitled to more money for competing in the extra events not because it views itself as more important than the other teams, but because the money offered from new events in Bahrain, China and Turkey is more than Silverstone and Magny-Cours are offering.

"We believe that the 18th and 19th races are either Bahrain and Turkey or China and Turkey, so it is completely wrong that Magny-Cours and Silverstone were manipulated into being the 18th and 19th races, and then became a pawn in the negotiations under that basis," added Brawn.

"That is the reason we object. It is not because of financial reasons or what have you, we just don't accept that Silverstone and Magny-Cours should have been the 18th and 19th races as a tool for negotiations.

"For us, the newer races are for sure the last races that have been introduced and the income from those races in China, Bahrain and Turkey is very, very substantial. That is the money that should be shared among the teams, not the contribution that Magny-Cours and Silverstone are making, so that is our argument."

When asked whether he believed that the situation could eventually lead to the team not competing in the events, however, Brawn was less convinced that there would be a negative resolution to the situation.

"I am sure we will be there," he said.

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