The gospel according to Ray Bellm

The tit-for-tat squabbling at the British Racing Drivers' Club continued today with deposed chairman Ray Bellm explaining that he had "stepped down" despite the fact that the club put out a statement to this effect.

"I categorically deny the statement from the British Racing Drivers' Club," Bellm said. "At a board meeting held on January 11 the post of chairman was removed and through this decision, I no longer hold the position. I was elected chairman of the board in November 2003 in order to bring to bear on the BRDC my business skills to take the BRDC forward. I was charged with exploiting the commercial opportunities available and secure the long-term future of the Club, which was asset rich and cash poor, and this included securing the future of the British GP, and progressing the plans for redevelopment of the facility. During 2004 we secured $38m net of tax from IPG's exit. We secured a five-year agreement with FOM to promote the British Grand Prix with a projected operating profit over the five years, based on full gates. We reorganised the management of our technology park development as progress was slow to non-existent, and we worked closely with a third party adviser over future plans for the circuit. Securing the British GP for five years on profitable terms alone increased the worth of our land by 50m.

"The underlying issue for removal of my position is a disagreement by some board members of the terms of the contract with FOM for the British Grand Prix. I led the negotiations on this and acted in the interests of the club to secure the best - and possibly only - deal available to us. I am saddened that, after all the hard work, there is dissent and disillusion within the board.

"The club's action has left it without a chairman, which I do not believe is correct corporate governance for the effective running of the club. After a very productive year in which so much has been achieved, the club has put itself into a vulnerable position and little clear, commercial and success-driven direction. I will remain on the board at the current time and hope that I can continue to contribute to the club as successfully as when I was chairman."

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