Friday February 23rd, 2001
An alternative Formula One series backed by major carmakers is unlikely to happen, world motor sport chief Max Mosley was quoted as saying on Friday.
"I do not believe in such a hypothesis," the International Automobile Federation (FIA) president told Italy's Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper on a visit to Milan.
"But if it were to happen it would be under the FIA. The carmakers, however, are interested in competing in the same championship won by [Argentine Juan Manuel] Fangio and [Jim] Clark, not in creating a new one."
German car magazine Auto, Motor und Sport quoted Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone as saying this week that he had been asked by a consortium of five leading Grand Prix car constructors to look into the possibility of a new series.
"The constructors have asked me whether I would manage a new racing series under contract to them," he said.
His comments came as German media groups EM.TV and Kirch positioned themselves to buy a further controlling stake in Ecclestone's family trust SLEC, which holds the commercial rights to Formula One until 2010.
Mosley has said he is against the deal between the media groups, which has yet to satisfy the FIA general assembly. He has also said he wants to see the consortium of carmakers buy into SLEC.
"We must be sure that whoever controls the television rights can fulfil all the obligations of the current contract," Mosley told the Gazzetta.
"And I ask myself whether Kirch, a man of pay-TV, is capable of doing so. We must talk about it but my impression is that the general assembly, which will make the decision, is not in favour of his coming in."
The Kirch media group said on Friday it was on the verge of securing the financing for debt-laden rival EM.TV's option to raise its stake in SLEC.
Kirch has agreed to rescue EM.TV in a deal which would hand the company 25.1 percent of EM.TV's voting rights and half its 50 percent stake in SLEC.
The head of Renault sport, the French carmaker which owns the Benetton team, said on Thursday that Formula One must remain on public-access television and not be moved to pay channels.