Mercedes boss warns that the clock is running on an independent GP series

Mika Hakkinen, Hungarian GP 2001

Mika Hakkinen, Hungarian GP 2001 

 © The Cahier Archive

DAIMLERCHRYSLER board director Jurgen Hubbert, one of the driving forces behind the McLaren-Mercedes F1 partnership, has warned media group Kirch that it has 12 months left to sort out its stance over commercial rights - or face the prospect of the major car makers pressing ahead to form an independent series when the Concorde Agreement expires in 2007.

Hubbert was speaking at the Mercedes HQ at Stuttgart on the eve of the Stars & Cars day when the company's 40,000 employees and their families can come in to see a series of pit stop competitions and demonstrations by F1 McLarens, DTM cars and machines from the past season.

"It is only right that we have a fair share of the income stream split between the car manufacturers and the teams," said Hubbert. "The problem is that people (Kirch) have paid a lot for SLEC, but what is its real value? The problem is to make sure that the target we set ourselves is manageable. We want Bernie (Ecclestone) to stay as long as he wants to running the sport, but we need to have in place a management team to take over after him."

McLaren CEO Ron Dennis added; "No team in F1 us currently satisfied with the commercial arrangement. The share most teams receive from SLEC normally sits between 12 and 15 per cent of their overall budget. This is significant money, but the teams' prime concern is stability. If we can't have (commercial) stability then we won't have the sponsors we need to attract in order to find the growth."

"Bernie has done tremendous work in building up F1. Nobody begrudges what he has earned from it. But putting my own hand up I have concerns about a third party (Kirch) having such an influence when they have contributed nothing to the success of Grand Prix racing. The teams feel completely justified having a greater revenue stream. What value is a circuit with no actors."

However, both Dennis and Hubbert agreed that the best route forward was to reach an accommodation with Kirch rather than starting an independent series.

Follow grandprixdotcom on Twitter

Print News Story