Atlas F1 News Service, a Reuters report

Ecclestone Dismisses Threat of Rival F1

Sunday April 15th, 2001

Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone has dismissed suggestions that car manufacturers may launch a rival series.

Ecclestone, who holds a share in the commercial and broadcasting rights to Formula One through his SLEC company, believes the threat is unlikely to materialise.

"They would be a little bit silly if they thought that would be the best way to go because they can do it in a better way," said Ecclestone. "They're in Formula One to sell their products, not to run races or race teams and in the end that's what it will probably come down to and what they ought to do."

Ecclestone, speaking in an interview with ITV Sport on Sunday, indicated that the car makers - Ford, DaimlerChrysler, BMW, Renault and FIAT - are too late to take a share in SLEC, which is also owned by German media companies EM.TV and Kirch, but did not rule out talks to find a solution.

"They think that they would like to be involved and they had a good opportunity to do so. I think they missed the boat a little bit and misjudged what was going to happen, but I think that in the end people will start talking."

Ecclestone said that the car manufacturers issued the threat because they were concerned that once he relinquished control they would be left to answer to people they did not know.

He added: "I think they will broker the deal themselves and sort themselves out. They know what they want and what they want to achieve.

"I think that as long as they thought that I was totally in control, which I'm not by the way, they were happy, but they were worried if I suddenly keeled over. They don't want to be in the hands of somebody they don't know."

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