Tuesday February 6th, 2001
A number of Formula One car manufacturers are seeking an equity stake in F1 holding company SLEC, the family trust controlled by Bernie Ecclestone, a senior executive confirmed on Tuesday.
Nick Scheele, chairman of Ford Europe, told Reuters the talks had been led by Fiat chief executive Paolo Cantarella in his capacity as chairman of the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA).
"The manufacturers involved in F1 have been in discussions with a view to taking an equity stake," Scheele said during a Ford presentation of "greener" cars in Brussels.
"We recognise that Bernie Ecclestone has done a major job for F1 over the years. He has made it what it is today: the most-watched spectator sport," he told Reuters.
"We are interested in its future and would like to participate in that with a direct equity stake," he added.
Scheele declined to comment on the size of the stake sought.
Media group EM.TV hold a 50 percent stake in SLEC but are in talks with German media giant Kirch about selling half this stake. EM.TV also holds an option to buy a further 25 percent stake in SLEC from Ecclestone.
Ecclestone was quoted last Friday as saying he had no immediate plans to relinquish control of Formula One.
He told the Daily Express newspaper that Europe's major carmakers were negotiating to buy a stake in Formula One but did not want outright control of the sport.