Thursday April 5th, 2001
Fiat chairman Paolo Cantarella has revealed the reason the European Car manufacturers have decided to create a new Formula One-rivalling racing series.
Cantarella, who in the capacity of chairman of the European Car Manufacturers Association (ACEA) announced the decision yesterday, said the manufacturers wanted more control of the sport and believed it essential to keep races in the public eye.
"It's quite simple really," declared the Fiat managing-director in Rome during a meeting of the Confederation of Italian Industrialists.
"The constructors are the protagonists in Formula One, they provide the raw material for the sporting event and the spectacle. And so they would like to be able to run everything more directly, with greater overall guarantees.
"We want Formula One, together with its entire heritage, to continue with order, technological development, clarity of rules and maximum visibility. As you can see, the guaranties also involve the general public."
The five manufacturers involved - Fiat, Ford, Renault, DaimlerChrysler, and BMW - had wanted to buy a stake in SLEC, Bernie Ecclestone's Formula One holdings company.
But 75 percent of that is now in the hands of German media group Kirch, and it appears that talks between the company's head, Leo Kirch, and the car manufacturers have ran into difficulties.
The car companies, therefore, have decided to go out on their own, and they are confident that their new series can develop well in the long run.
"Ecclestone has done a great job and everybody, including the constructors, has obtained benefits from this," added Cantarella.
"I don't want to go into details, but if automobile industries such as Fiat, Mercedes, Ford, Renault, BMW, Toyota and Honda intervene directly, then their action has more sense.
"It's going to take a long time, but we are starting to work now for our own Formula One series, one that will be increasingly avant-garde on both a sporting and technological level."