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Stoddart warns of threat to F1

NEWS STORY
20/03/2005

Paul Stoddart, owner of Minardi, and spokesman for the nine 'rebel' F1 teams, has warned that Formula One, as we know it, faces a disaster, unless all those involved can sit down and agree to settle their (quite major) differences.

In the long term there is the threat of a breakaway championship headed by the manufacturers, the Grand Prix World Championship (GPWC), while in the short term there is serious unrest over what the 'rebel' teams see as preferential treatment given to Ferrari in terms of money, testing and generally the way the sport and its governing body appears to favour the Italian team.

"The politics are such that if we ignore them we do so at our peril," Stoddart told reporters on Sunday morning. "If anyone thinks this is not heading towards two championships in 2008, they haven't been in the same meetings that I've been in.

"We do all know the real alternative is actually disaster," he added. .

"We've got to get Max and Ferrari back into the meetings," he continued Stoddart. "There are problems, serious problems. "We can either ignore them and hope they will go away, or we can deal with it to the point where commonsense does prevail and we actually all get round and talk about it."

The irony is that it was the nine teams that chose not to attend a recent meeting with Ferrari and the FIA.

"My understanding is that Ferrari has negotiated in their signing of the new Concorde an absolute veto," said Stoddart, "that's just like the U.N. they can veto any decision made by the rest of the teams... on their own. Well, what good's that going to do?"

Following the winter of discontent, be prepared for a long hot summer of grumbling, hissing and spitting.

That's until Bernie opens his briefcase and certain team bosses get to smell that lovely green stuff...

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