The meeting of the teams

A sixteenth century country house may seem an unlikely place to discuss the future of the world's most technologically-advanced sport but the meeting yesterday between nine teams and five manufacturers at Great Fosters near Egham, in Surrey, appears to have moved things on as the group considered the progress of the various working groups and came up with a timetable in which they will develop "a comprehensive blueprint" for Grand Prix racing after 2007.

Now chaired by BMW board member Burkhard Goeschel, the group's meeting may not have delivered much in the way of hard news but it did deliver a number of subliminal messages, small things which hint at the bigger picture. In the past F1 teams have always met in drab airport hotels at Heathrow Airport, allowing some to fly in from afar and others to drive from their factories in "Motorsport Valley". The teams and manufacturers have broken with that traditions in order to meet at expensive hotels: the magnificent Cliveden and now Great Fosters. This may not seem important but it shows that they are willing to spend money and they are thinking about the image they are putting forward.

The other point of interest is the fact that one word in the press release received a capital letter which would not normally be there. The release spoke of "a comprehensive blueprint for Grand Prix Racing". The implication of this is that the group may have chosen a name for the organisation although Grand Prix Racing is a name which is already being used by a group in the United States. This was established by an e-marketing company called Bizware last autumn with the aim of developing the "Grand Prix Racing" brand which they plan to use to create "a new entertainment and recreation concept that brings the thrill of Grand Prix Racing to the masses via multiple venues and themed entertainment offerings". The group says that "as a fully trademarked and licensed brand Grand Prix Racing appeals to a wide demographic of motor sports enthusiasts, and is licensed for use on merchandise, apparel, toys, racing equipment and supplies". Whether this is all legally sorted out is another matter because it cannot have been done in the time available since the company was formed. Trademarking is not an easy business and challenges can be expected from a variety of different people who use the name for a variety of events.

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