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Ecclestone writes to the FIA members

NEWS STORY
23/05/2008

As promised, a week after Max Mosley wrote to the various Presidents of the FIA national clubs, F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has sent out his own letter, in what he says is an attempt to avoid "misunderstandings and inaccurate conclusions being drawn" from Mosley's missive.

The letter, which bears the Formula One Management (FOM) letterhead, is signed by Ecclestone in his role as CEO of Delta Topco Limited and its subsidiaries, which include SLEC Holdings Limited, Formula One Administration Limited and Formula One Management Limited)

While, for the most part, Ecclestone has refused to condemn Mosley since the News of the Work broke its story in late March, it should be noted that in the letter it appears his stance is rapidly changing, stating, as it does, that motorsport's governing body needs to be led by a "credible and respected" head. What many will see as a clear dig at the present incumbent.

The letter reads as follows:

"We support the FIA and recognise that it is, and should remain, the sole body governing international motor sport which governs the sporting organisation of the FIA Formula One World Championship (the Championship).

We recognise the obligation conferred upon the FIA by you, its membership, to safeguard its authority over all safety, sporting and technical matters relating to the Championship, as well as its traditional values.

We support and concur with the requirement of the European Commission that regulatory functions relating to international motor sport be separate from the associated commercial interests and that the FIA's role in Formula One should be that of the sporting regulator, uninvolved in its commercial exploitation.

We believe it is to the benefit of Formula One that the FIA should have a transparent and robust governance structure and that it should discharge its regulatory responsibilities in a fair, impartial and non-discriminatory manner, without external influence or interference, led by a credible and respected President (who should be chosen by the FIA's membership only).

We intend to continue to manage exclusively the commercial exploitation of Formula One within the established frameworks of the existing FIA Formula One Commercial Agreement and, in due course, the 100 Year Agreements.

100 Year Agreements

You will recall that this set of agreements (the 100 Year Agreements) was entered into between the FIA and SLEC Holdings Limited in April 2001. Those agreements are valid and binding on the parties and will in all material respects become operative in 2011. They do not need to be altered or renegotiated unless both parties wish to do so.

There are some ambiguities in the drafting of these agreements, however, and we have sought discussions with the FIA President to clarify these points and to avoid unintended consequences.

We have also raised with him a number of other issues which we considered would improve the agreements without damaging the FIA' s interests, but we accept that is a matter for the FIA to judge, it is not obliged to make those concessions to us and should it consider it is against its interests to do so, we would be content to the leave the agreements in their present form and when the time comes, to operate within their existing scope, without amendments.

Formula One regulations

The CRH does not wish to have control over the Formula One regulations. We believe that the Formula One regulations should be drawn up by the Formula One Technical and Sporting Working Groups, subject to the approval of the FIA Formula One Commission and the FIA World Motor Sport Council. To the extent any changes to the Formula One regulations may have a material commercial impact on the CRH and its interests, such changes should be discussed and agreed with us.

Imprudent changes to the Formula One regulations, if adopted, could have a dramatic adverse impact on the attractiveness of the sport, to promoters, to broadcasters, to sponsors and to the fans; they could add significantly to the cost of participating in the Championship at a competitive level; they could also undermine or depart from the Championship's traditional values. We believe that a clear regulatory framework would minimise the risk of such problems.

The FIA should be solely responsible for policing and enforcing the Formula One regulations fairly, transparently and without bias.

Concorde Agreement

There has been a Concorde Agreement since 1981.The most recent Concorde Agreement expired at the end of 2007 and we desire that it be renewed, not as a way for the CRH to exercise control over the sport, but because it will provide the financial and regulatory stability desired by the Formula One teams and the motor manufacturers who sponsor and invest significantly in them.

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