Ferrari president sets F1 deadline

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has set a December 31 deadline for the Formula One group and the 'F1 banks' to agree with the participating manufacturers about the future ownership and financial structure of F1 racing, reports the Financial Times. If no deal is reached by the end of this year, said di Montezemolo, the manufacturers will commit themselves to launching their own Grand Prix World Championship after the expiry of the Concorde Agreement in 2007

Ferrari president sets F1 deadline

BMW, DaimlerChrysler, Ferrari, Ford and Renault set up the GPWC company more than a year ago to plan the rival competition, following the sale by Bernie Ecclestone of 75 percent of F1 commercial rights holder SLEC Holdings to two German media firms. These have since collapsed and their SLEC stock is now held by their creditor banks, Bayerische Landesbank, Lehman Brothers and JP Morgan. The remaining 25 percent is held by Bambino, an Ecclestone family trust.

Di Montezemolo said: "We [the manufacturers] would like a solution with Bernie Ecclestone and the banks. If not, it will be bad, but it won't be a tragedy. While Mr Ecclestone was the owner, everyone accepted most of the arrangements. But things have changed. The car makers have a bigger presence, and the cost of racing becomes bigger and bigger.

"In no other sport are the teams deprived of a share of two of the three main revenue streams - trackside advertising and ticket sales - while having to share just 47 percent of the gross income from TV rights. [And] the three creditor banks know nothing about F1. How can we accept that?"

He warned that the current SLEC shareholders must agree to share more of the F1 revenue stream or face the prospect of the value of their holdings shrinking to zero. "The simple truth is that, without the manufacturers, they cannot make a championship," he concluded.

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