APRIL 14, 2001
F1 future discussed at Imola
THE future of Formula One was discussed in a hospitality motorhome on Friday night as Bernie Ecclestone made his first appearance at a Grand Prix this season.
The Grand Prix chief was joined by the top men from McLaren, Jaguar and Benetton, who represent three of the five European car manufacturers threatening to leave Formula One and set up their own series.
British American Racing's Craig Pollock was also in attendance, despite his team's allegiances to Honda who are not involved in the breakaway plans.
The manufacturers plan to launch a new series after concerns grew over television rights following the take-over of Formula One's holding company SLEC.
Ecclestone has offered the manufacturers half of his remaining 25 percent share in SLEC, and the meeting is believed to have been to discuss the matter as Ecclestone desperately tries to save the sport he has spent his life building.
Before the meeting Bobby Rahal, CEO of Jaguar, revealed he is not the major player in the discussions.
"I am not telling them what they should be doing," he said. "But they are consulting me. They are consulting every other team too.
"I don't think they are bluffing in the sense that they have a desire to have a voice. Again whether it is to be one hundred percent as a series owned by the manufacturers or not I don't know."
However, on Saturday the people present at the meeting refused to discuss what had been said, and the saga continues to roll on.
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