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A change of tack from Ecclestone

NEWS STORY
13/06/2008

Just one week ago, as the seventh round of the 2008 season got underway, word went round that once again F1 could be facing a split.

Max Mosley had won the support of the FIA members, but many within the F1 paddock, most notably 'ringmaster' Bernie Ecclestone were very unhappy.

Both before and after the Extraordinary General Meeting, Ecclestone had called on Mosley to stand down, warning that the sport would be irrevocably damaged should he remain in power. Then, not for the first time, a few buttons were pressed, a few ears whispered into, and talk of a breakaway series began to filter through.

We have said previously that Ecclestone appears to be adopting a role familiar to fans of TV cop shows, however, rather than choosing to be 'good cop' or 'bad cop', he appears to veer between the two, hoping that nobody will notice.

In a new letter to the FIA member clubs, seen by Pitpass, the F1 supremo is clearly back in 'good cop' mode, even claiming that he hopes Max Mosley is still his friend - this just a couple of weeks after threatening war. Interestingly, looking at the letter, it appears to have been written by Ecclestone personally, rather than his 'representatives'.

Ecclestone, appears to accept that Mosley is here to stay, at least until 2009, and even writes that he hopes the FIA is still his friend after all that has happened recently, though it is understood Mosley sees things (slightly) differently, with some sources claiming that there has been little, if any, personal contact within the two in recent weeks.

Keen to see the relevant parties agree to a new Concorde Agreement, Ecclestone writes: "The position of Formula One Management and the teams and the Formula One promoters is very simple. They would like a Concorde Agreement signed in basically the same format as in the past agreements (under) which Formula One has been governed successfully for over 25 years. It follows the agreement reached with the European Commission where the FIA are the regulators of the sport and FOM are the commercial side of Formula One. We would hope that this can continue."

"As far as the FIA president is concerned," he continues, "this has now been made clear and there is not a change in the position at this time.

"A number of the manufacturers and the teams, along with their sponsors, have stated that they thought the president should stand down because of matters in his private life," adds Ecclestone, not omitting to mention that he has (twice) called on Mosley to stand down. "This is their, and only their, opinion as they are not part of the FIA and therefore do not have votes.

"Personally Max has been a friend for 40 years and I hope he still is," writes Ecclestone. "He has, in his way, carried out many matters which have been beneficial to the FIA and should be appreciated for this."

Mosley has made it quite clear where he stands. Not only is he seeking a fairer distribution of the revenues generated by F1 - something Ecclestone will not want to hear - he is also adamant that the FIA's authority as regulator is clearly reinforced.

In his letter to the member clubs on May 16, Mosley wrote: "In my view, we should only sign a new Concorde Agreement if it reinforces the authority of the FIA and deals properly with the major financial crisis which appears imminent in Formula One.

"Costs have gone out of control, income is insufficient and major manufacturers are in difficulty with their core businesses. Only with fair and realistic financial arrangements will we avoid losing more teams."

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