Sun, Dec 21, 2003 - Page 23 News List

Formula One deals with automakers to head off a split

AP , MUNICH, GERMANY

Major car makers involved in Formula One racing have given up their threat to establish a rival circuit in return for a bigger share of the profits and more say in the running of the series, the two sides said Friday.

"We've established a stable and long-term foundation," said Gerhard Gribkowsky, a manager at Bayerische Landesbank _ one of the institutions that hold 75 percent of SLEC Holding, Formula One's marketing arm. "We've secured the financial stability in Formula One."

The two sides signed a letter of intent Friday, and the final deal is expected to be signed in March.

The remaining 25 percent of SLEC belongs to Bernie Ecclestone and the Formula One chief's family. Ecclestone will remain the boss of the series, but the car makers will get three seats on the board.

Ferrari, DaimlerChrysler, Renault, Ford and BMW formed the Grand Prix World Championship (GPWC) and threatened to establish a rival series starting in 2007 unless they got a bigger slice of the cake. At the present, they get 47 percent of television revenues. New figures were not released.

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