The GPMA is still out there

There has been much talk in recent days of compromise and the various FIA meetings appear to have gone off without any major blow-ups but that does not mean that the Grand Prix Manufacturers Association has gone away, or indeed altered any of its stated goals. Our sources tell us that, if anything, the resolve has hardened in recent weeks because the car manufacturers know that they must get down to the serious business of putting together a championship rather than just talking about it.

We believe that the GPMA is moving quietly ahead with its plans to run its own championship in 2008 and will soon name a front man for the organisation. As soon as that has been done it is anticipated that they will start talking to circuits about deals and while the Formula One group may have a lot of circuits under contract, there are a lot of others which would like to be involved in the world's top single-seater championship, whether or not it is called Formula 1 or not. One thinks, for example, of Adelaide in Australia; Dubai in the Middle East and various European tracks such as Estoril which have not been able to compete for F1 races because of the high cost of fees which must be paid to Formula One Management. The interesting point is that if a new championship did get up and running and offered more reasonable deals whether some of the existing F1 circuits would jump ship. Spa, for example, is struggling to survive as an F1 venue and tracks like Magny-Cours, Silverstone and Imola are also on the limit financially.

The interesting question in all of this is how long Formula One Management would let a new championship plan before doing a deal because the more the momentum, the less need there would be for the GPMA to negotiate. FOM still only has Ferrari, Red Bull Racing and Jordan signed up. The revamped Minardi team (Squadra Toro Rosso) will almost certainly sign with FOM. Williams remains in the middle ground and needs to be convinced that the manufacturers are serious while the other five teams (McLaren, BMW, Honda, Toyota and Renault) are all in the manufacturer camp.

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