Saturday May 26th, 2001
Leading carmakers are serious about a Formula One breakaway and intend to launch their own series in 2008, Patrick Faure, president of Renault Sport, said on Saturday.
Speaking to reporters ahead of the qualifying session for Sunday's Monaco Grand Prix, the Frenchman said the carmakers could "not leave Formula One to be run by someone else."
He said the prospect of 'pay TV' lay at the root of the problem and was unacceptable to members of the European Car Makers Association (ACEA).
ACEA involves all the leading manufacturers currently involved in Formula One: Jaguar owners Ford, DaimlerChrysler which has Mercedes McLaren, BMW with Williams, Renault with Benetton and Ferrari's Fiat.
"We will be appointing our own chief executive officer to oversee our championship," he explained, adding that the chairmanship will rotate between the manufacturers involved. Faure said ACEA accepted they would not be able to own and regulate their own series.
"You cannot be the players and the referee at the same time," he said, implying they will seek to ensure their series is run by the world ruling body, the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA).
"It may seem a long time to 2008, but it will arrive like tomorrow," he said.
Faure noted that the car makers had formed ACEA in response to the acquisition of a majority share-holding in Formula One holding company SLEC by the Kirch Group, a German media company specialising in pay television.
SLEC was set up by motor racing supremo Bernie Ecclestone to control his Formula One Holdings business.