APRIL 27, 2005
Banks considering change
The Formula 1 banks are considering making changes in the management of the Formula One Group. A spokesman for the leading bank Bayerische Landesbank told Bloomberg that the three banks would appoint new directors "in due course".
The banks acquired their stakes in the company after Bernie Ecclestone sold a controlling interest to the media company EM.TV. This ran into financial trouble and was taken over by the Kirch Group but this too ran into financial trouble and collapsed in 2002. The banks acquired the F1 stake in return for loans which Kirch had failed to pay. After working with Ecclestone for a period the banks started legal action in order to get management control of the business and there was an out-of-court settlement just before Easter. The banks have said that they now have management control which is in line with their shareholdings.
At the San Marino Grand Prix BMW's Mario Theissen told journalists that the banks are in the process of sorting out "how they want to run their business". It is not thought likely that the banks will remove Ecclestone as the central figure in F1 but they will be putting pressure on him to find a solution to the current division which sees the Formula One Group, the FIA, Ferrari, Red Bull Racing and Jordan F1 ranged against the seven other teams. The battle lines are now drawn and it is a question of who has the correct interpretation of the Concorde Agreement.
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