NOVEMBER 19, 2004
Helmets on, it's the High Court on Monday
The long-awaited law suit between the three bank involved in Formula 1 and Bernie Ecclestone's Formula One Holdings company will start on Monday morning with Justice Sir Andrew Park scheduled to hear the case. The banks contend that they should have the right to appoint directors to reflect their 75% shareholding in SLEC, the Formula One group's holding company. They argue that this right belonged to previous owner Kirch but was not passed on to them when they acquired the shares in the business.
If the banks win the case it could result in the end of Bernie Ecclestone's direct involvement in running the business as the board of directors of the various companies could remove him from his position.
The case will be watched closely by the whole of Formula 1.
In theory, if the banks win the case the FIA could try to take the 100-year commercial rights deal away from Formula One Holdings, arguing that there has been a change of control. However, this is not an open-and-shut case as it could be argued that the control changed when the banks acquired their shareholdings. If the FIA tried to stop the banks taking over the business there would probably be another law suit.
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