Saturday April 14th, 2001
By Timothy Collings
Formula One team chiefs and car-makers' representatives closed ranks on Saturday and rejected suggestions that the European manufacturers were likely to launch a rival series.
Mercedes-Benz motor sport chief Norbert Haug told an informal news conference after qualifying at the San Marino Grand Prix that, to his knowledge, "there is not a plan to have two Formula Ones".
He was backed by both his rival BMW motor sport head Gerhard Berger and McLaren team chief Ron Dennis.
Dennis said he believed talk of a breakaway series would not result in a break-up of Formula One but would, instead, prompt a period of careful consideration, discussion and possible restructuring for the future.
He said: "I think that, as you would expect, I have a great deal of knowledge about the subject and Formula One is the core business of our group of companies and I would not be doing my job if I didn't know everything about each element involved.
"From the role of the manufacturers, the position of the teams, the different political positions of the teams, the influence of the FIA and the very complex interplay between the personalities, some of whom are driven by ambitions and some of whom are driven by egos."
"At the end of the day, if I thought it would be the constructive thing for Formula One I would lay everything out in front of you and say this is the situation and you can form your own opinions.
"But the core business of our company is F1 and I am passionate about Formula One and have always been and if not passionate you can't cope with the work and the mental commitment which you need to give it.
"My own intention is first to be a positive influence on the future and to use the knowledge I have and the support of Daimler-Chrysler's board ...and to do what is right for the future."
Dennis stressed that he did not believe the current threats from the car-makers amounted to a crisis for the sport.
"Too many people have the right focus and the right level of commitment, so I am convinced this will not be messed up," he said.
Berger said the parties involved all needed time. "Give this whole thing time," he said. "Everything needs to be considered quietly and logically."
The comments followed a meeting of team chiefs with Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone on Friday during which the current position was discussed.