What are the Nine Teams up to now?

While everyone watches the High Court in London to see what will emerge in the supposed "settlement" between Bernie Ecclestone and the Formula 1 banks, the Formula 1 teams continue their discussions about the future with a basic structure having been established to enable the participants to define the basis on which the parties involved are willing to compete in a new championship beyond the end of 2007.

It has been an open secret for some time that the GPWC moniker would have to go and there is now speculation that the manufacturers want a new name in order to leave behind the negative connotations of the GPWC. The name will reflect the fact that the original GPWC survivors (BMW, Mercedes and Renault) will be joined by Honda and Toyota in the new organization. There are reports that this might be a name such as "Grand Prix Racing" but as far as we understand the situation at the moment is that there is no decision yet.

There have been some reports about the structure of the various committees involved but these have not been entirely correct. At the centre of the structure is a what is known as the team principals forum. We believe that this will expand soon to include the manufacturers as well. At the moment this body is being chaired by Nick Fry of BAR-Honda and is fed by four committees, each dealing with different aspects of the sport.

The Sporting Committee is chaired by David Ryan (McLaren) and Alistair Watkins (BAR). There is a Technical Committee which is chaired by Patrick Head (Williams), attached to this is a sub-group associated with engines. There is a Media Committee which is headed by Liam Clogger (Williams) and there is also a Legal Committee which is chaired by John Healey, the in-house lawyer at Williams.

The current phase of development is to discuss the fundamental structures which need to be put in place for the future and the teams are keen to point out that it does not in any way exclude the involvement of the Formula One group nor the FIA. There are, however, some fundamental premises which must be accepted in order for there to be a deal with these parties and with Ferrari. It is not clear how many of these there are but one is very definitely that Ferrari cannot be allowed to have a veto on technical regulations, which appears to be part of the Concorde Agreement which was announced back in February. There are certainly questions over how the income of F1 is distributed. A third proviso is probably how the rules are created (as opposed to how they are administered) and there may also be questions about the appeals process.

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