Tuesday February 27th, 2001
Formula One's five European carmakers said on Tuesday they opposed any moves that would lead to one television company controlling the commercial rights to races.
"ACEA members are against handing the control, either direct or indirect, of the television rights to Formula One races to one television company only," Fiat CEO Paolo Cantarella said in a statement.
Cantarella is also chairman of the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA).
The members include BMW, DaimlerChrysler, Ford, Renault and Fiat, which owns world champion Formula One team Ferrari.
German media company EM.TV, with its partner Kirch, plans to take control of the SLEC holding which owns the commercial rights to races by buying a further 25 percent in SLEC for almost $1.0 billion.
EM.TV and Kirch have until Wednesday to exercise an option to buy a 25 percent stake in SLEC from Formula One mogul Bernie Ecclestone.
The purchase, which EM.TV has vowed to make by Wednesday's deadline, would take its total stake to 75 percent. Ecclestone would retain the other 25 percent.
However EM.TV said on Monday that they were holding exploratory talks with the carmakers about them taking a stake in SLEC but no concrete proposals had been made yet.
"SLEC holdings does not own Formula One," Cantarella said, adding that the holding company was obliged to respect two accords signed with the teams and the sport's governing body, the International Automobile Federation (FIA).
FIA president Max Mosley has said that he would like to see the carmakers purchase a stake in SLEC.