Friday April 27th, 2001
Formula One is guaranteed to be on free-to-air television until at least the end of 2007, Ferrari sporting director Jean Todt confirmed on Friday.
"We have the guarantee that until the expiry of the Concorde Agreement we will have live TV as it is now, which is very important for us," Todt told a news conference at the Spanish Grand Prix.
The so-called Concorde agreement between teams and the International Automobile Federation (FIA) expires at the end of 2007. The FIA announced earlier in the week that they had concluded a 100-year agreement for Formula One's commercial rights with SLEC, formerly controlled by Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone.
SLEC is now 75 percent owned by Germany's Kirch and EM.TV groups, whose control has led the major carmakers involved in the sport to talk of setting up a rival series when the Concorde agreement expires. Todt said the position of the carmakers was up to Paolo Cantarella, chairman of FIAT and the European group of constructors ACEA, who has said they are looking into setting up a new series.
"He is running one action with the intention of running another championship at the expiry of the Concorde Agreement. That's all I can say," added Todt. "I don't think you should say a constructors' championship because if something will happen it will be a championship probably with the same players," he said.
"Probably it will just change the name. But in my opinion the championship will remain the same -- with different organisation -- the same principle and from what I understand under the FIA sporting and technical rules."