Tuesday February 6th, 2001
Bernie Ecclestone is reported to have stalled on a £258 million (pounds) payment to the sport's governing body, the FIA, according to reports in The Financial Times on Tuesday.
Ecclestone is reported to have not made the payment for the 100-year contract for television rights to Formula One and the FIA is believed to be ready to offer the deal to other bidders.
The five car manufacturers who were last week linked to buying Ecclestone's share of the controlling SLEC company, have been tipped as favourites to now challenge Ecclestone for the 100-year television rights deal.
Ford, Fiat, BMW, Daimler-Chrysler and Renault, who make up the European Automobile Manufacturers Association, are the five car companies involved and if they did secure the 100-year TV deal it could devalue SLEC and end Ecclestone's stranglehold on the sport.
Ecclestone's current television rights deal through SLEC is believed to run out in 2010 and his reported failure to secure the 100-year deal would put further pressure on the other major shareholder in SLEC - EM.TV, who are currently attempting to sell their shares to the Kirch Group.