Hubbert - 2008 is not set in stone

JURGEN HUBBERT, the Mercedes-Benz chairman, has said that the European Car Manufacturers' Association (ACEA) could introduce a breakaway series to Formula One before 2008.

Hubbert said that ACEA plan to put a management team in operation next week, of which he refused to rule out Bernie Ecclestone as a possible chief executive, and claimed that the new series could be introduced before 2008.

Hubbert said: "We, meaning the five manufacturers, signed 'an mou' (memo of understanding) last Friday in Rome which clearly said that we are willing to found a company, that is capable to prepare for a new race series that could be the successor to the current Formula One, at the latest in 2008.

"So, we will found this company in the next few days. We are looking for some people to start to work and so that's the situation and to make one thing quite clear this is, on the side of the manufacturers, a very serious proposal."

Fiat's Paolo Cantarella will become the first chairman of the European Car Manufacturers' Association (ACEA), but Hubbert said that no decision had been taken on where the new series will be registered.

"But, we agreed the first chairman of this club will be Paolo Cantarella, so normally, we would say that this company should be located in the United Kingdom because a lot of the activities are in the UK, but no final decision has been taken so far."

He added of the series: "Mr. Ecclestone normally does fantastic, waterproof, contracts and now we have to look at all the details and ask if it is a good idea to start it earlier or just take it over in 2008 when the current agreement finishes.

"Nobody is interested in destroying something which is good, but as has happened in the last few months, there is nothing we can agree upon and, therefore, for us manufacturers, there is no further chance to go that route -- unless the current shareholders would offer something substantial then for sure we would sit together and discuss it."

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