JUNE 12, 2003
Big trouble brewing in Canada?
We hear that Minardi boss Paul Stoddart has had enough of trying to convince the bigger Formula 1 teams to honor commitments that they made to support the smaller teams in these difficult economic times. Stoddart flew off to Canada earlier this week, taking a QC with him and the word in Montreal is that he is heading for a showdown. He is understood to have the support of Eddie Jordan. Both teams have been struggling financially in recent months because the "fighting fund" that was promised has not materialized. We hear that at least one team is refusing to agree to the fighting fund as long as Jordan continues with his legal action against Ferrari sponsor Vodafone. And Jordan seems unwilling to drop the action, presumably because he does not trust his fellow team bosses to keep their word.
There is not much that a small team like Minardi or Jordan can do against the mighty manufacturer-based teams except to cause them embarrassment and to block any changes that they may try to make to the rules and regulations. The Concorde Agreement gives each team equal power in this respect. This is one of the reasons why the big teams want to be rid of the small operations as they are a political nuisance in the battle between the manufacturer-backed teams (the GPWC), Formula One Management and the FIA.
Our spies suggest that Stoddart has made it quite clear to the GPWC what is going to happen and he is hoping that they will decide to dip into their pockets to stop any outbursts. Stoddart was planning a similar attack in Melbourne but a 11th hour meeting with McLaren's Ron Dennis caused him to decide to toe the line, presumably in exchange for assurances from Dennis. The fact that he is now planning to go public would seem to suggest that whatever commitments were made then have not been kept, but as there was apparently nothing in writing it is difficult to know what was said between the two men.
We would expect there to be some last-minute horse-trading again but at the moment it seems that Stoddart and Jordan have had enough and feel that unless they act they will go out of business which, they suspect, is the aim of the bigger teams as this will help them in their fight to gain control of the sport for the automobile manufacturers.
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