Tuesday November 27th, 2001
FIAT boss Paolo Cantarella will head a company set-up by Formula One carmakers to run their own Grand Prix series should talks with rights holders Kirch come to nothing.
Turin-based FIAT issued a statement on Tuesday, on behalf of the new firm, saying that the manufacturers were "in the process of setting up in the Netherlands a joint company under the name GPWC Holding B.V."
FIAT chief executive Cantarella, who also presides over the European Carmakers' Association ACEA, will be the first chairman. The other members of its board will be Juergen Hubbert of DaimlerChrysler, who will be vice-chairman, Patrick Faure of Renault, Burkard Goeschel of BMW and Wolfgang Reitzle of Ford.
Hubbert said earlier this month that FIAT-owned Ferrari's president Luca di Montezemolo would also be on the board but he was not named and Cantarella appeared to have taken his place. FIAT said the carmakers had met the teams and invited them to participate in the new series which they say will start not later than 2008.
Most of the teams are owned by or work closely with carmakers but are bound by the terms of the so-called Concorde Agreement which was negotiated with Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone. That agreement runs out in 2007.
German Kirch Group now control 75 percent of Ecclestone's Formula One holding company SLEC, who have secured the commercial rights to Formula One for 100 years. Kirch are heavily involved in pay television and the carmakers are determined to keep Formula One on free to air television with more control of the revenues.
Published at 17:38:18 GMT