Manufacturers agree to push ahead with rival series

THE automobile manufacturers met at the Frankfurt Motor Show yesterday and agreed to push ahead with their plans to establish their own World Championship in 2008 when the current Concorde Agreement expires. They agreed that they will abide by the present agreement which runs out in December 2007 but do not wish to renew as they feel that they should be given a bigger share of the money being raised by the sport and do not accept that the money should go to a third party. The car makers say that when Bernie Ecclestone owned the Formula One group of companies they were happy with the arrangements but since he has sold the majority of the shares in the business to Leo Kirch there is no reason why they should play the game for someone else's benefit.

The FIA has sold the commercial rights for 100 years for the relatively small sum of $315m but the federation says that it will licence any new championship if it can prove that it has the necessary levels of safety and organization. It has no real choice as to do otherwise would be to infringe European competition law.

The problem for Kirch is that if all the teams were to go with a new championship, he would have no-one to stage the races - and so his 100-year deal would not amount to much.

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