JANUARY 24, 2005
Fat lady yet to sing for GPWC
There may be some in Formula 1 circles who think that the battle over the future structure of Grand Prix racing is over but there is no sign that the GPWC is going to give up and our sources tell us that there will be a meeting of the manufacturers later this week to discuss their reaction to the news that Ferrari, the FIA and Formula One Management have all signed up to a new Concorde Agreement which will run until the end of 2012. This is all well and good but unless other teams agree to join Ferrari in the series it will have no credibility and will be very difficult to sell to TV companies and to the general public. The only way that is going to happen is if the other teams remain united against the deal. In all likelihood, FOM will now ty to pick off the smaller weaker teams with the lure of up-front payments to help them through the season ahead but even with two or three of these onboard the World Championship would still look less than impressive in 2008. The GPWC says that it has a better offer for the teams and that all will be revealed in the weeks ahead. If that can be made to happen, then the GPWC would look a lot more attractive to the small teams, although basic survival remains forefront in their minds. However if it is confirmed that Jordan has sold the team to Midland F1 one less team will be in financial trouble. The GPWC package will bring one huge advantage that FOM cannot claim: those taking part will feel that they are being treated in an equitable fashion. This has been the cause of much of the unpleasantness in F1 circles in the last 10 years and while Bernie Ecclestone might write it off as jealousy that he is making more money than anyone else, there is a valid argument that in most sports it is the participants rather than the promoter that get the majority of the money. The promoter, in theory at least, works for the participants and not vice-versa.
There is also the problem of the banks which are fighting to take control of FOM from Ecclestone. They remain a thorn in the side of the sport and while there are many in F1 circles who argue that the sport is better off with the people it knows - like Ecclestone - there are others who point out that, come what may, there is need for a new management in the not too distant future, simply because Ecclestone is 74 and despite his drive and energy is not going to get any younger.
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