Cantarella explains decision

FOLLOWING Wednesday's announcement that the European Car manufacturers involved in Grand Prix racing will go ahead with plans to create a new rival series, Fiat CEO Paolo Cantarella has explained the move.

He said that the car manufacturers, who are combined through the European Car Manufacturers Association of which he is head, wanted more control of the sport and saw it essential to keep it in the public eye.

"It's quite simple really," declared the Fiat managing-director in Rome during a meeting of the Confederation of Italian Industrialists.

"The constructors are the protagonists in Formula One, they provide the raw material for the sporting event and the spectacle. And so they would like to be able to run everything more directly, with greater overall guarantees."

"We want Formula One, together with its entire heritage, to continue with order, technological development, clarity of rules and maximum visibility. As you can see, the guaranties also involve the general public."

The five manufacturers involved -- Fiat, Ford, Renault, Daimler Chrysler, and BMW, had wanted to buy a stake in SLEC, Bernie Ecclestone's Formula One holdings company.

But 75 percent of that is now in the hands of German media group Kirch, and it appears that talks between the company's head, Leo Kirch, and the car manufacturers have run into difficulties.

The car companies, therefore, have decided to go out on their own, and they are confident that their new series can develop well in the long run.

"Ecclestone has done a great job and everybody, including the constructors, has obtained benefits from this.

"I don't want to go into details, but if automobile industries such as Fiat, Mercedes, Ford, Renault, BMW, Toyota and Honda intervene directly, then their action has more sense.

"It's going to take a long time, but we are starting to work now for our own Formula One series, one that will be increasingly avant-garde on both a sporting and technological level."

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