MAY 17, 2002
Teams unite to buy Kirch shares?
FIVE of the teams competing in Formula One have formed a company, GPT Ltd., aimed at buying the majority of the commercial rights to Formula One from the recently defunct Kirch group.
According to THE TIMES newspaper, McLaren, Williams, BAR, Jordan and Arrows have joined forces to try to solve the current crisis over the commercial rights, which has caused the Manufacturers to threaten to start a break-away series in 2007.
GPT Ltd.has enrolled former Jaguar director and FIA vice president Neil Johnson to head the new company and, apparently, save Formula One.
Johnson told The Times, "We have had this downward spiral in the reputation of Formula 1. There has been a concern that Formula 1 has not been managed well and things are out of control - even on the track things have been getting repetitive and boring - and that has reached such a pitch that everybody realizes something has to change. Last Sunday might have been the seminal moment. We have to find a way of putting Formula 1 back where it used to be."
Johnson's statements are interesting, as the current situation has come about over the teams wanting a greater share of the money earned by the commercial rights to F1, not over their discontent with Bernie Ecclestone's management.
It remains to be seen how the newly formed GPT will affect the manufacturers' company, GPWC Ltd., which has also been linked to bids for the Kirch shares.
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