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GPWC Statement on radical F1 changes

January 17, 2003
1


The Grand Prix World Championship (GPWC) issued the following statement at 18:00 (GMT) on Friday January 17.

The Board of GPWC Holdings B.V. held a regularly scheduled meeting yesterday in Berlin. The Board again confirmed their commitment to stabilize the premiere series in world motor sports in co-operation with the organizers and the teams that currently participate in Formula One.

The Board considered the current situation regarding the ownership of Formula One (SLEC). In light of the fact that three banks formerly affiliated with the Kirch Group now hold control of 58% of the shares of SLEC, the Board has appointed Goldman Sachs to commence discussions with representatives of the SLEC shareholders to determine as soon as possible whether a transaction with SLEC shareholders could achieve GPWC's objectives.

In parallel the Board formally approved a detailed business plan for the creation of the New Series, to begin not later than 2008. Those plans are designed to protect the long term stability and technical excellence of the world's leading open wheel motor racing series and to provide a substantially higher income for the teams participating in the sport. A fundamental aspect of the operation of the series will be to work with the teams in an inclusive and consensual environment.

GPWC also took the opportunity to discuss the announcement issued by the FIA on Wednesday on the subject of 'cost cutting' in Formula One.

The Manufacturers are in favor of reducing costs, but Formula One needs to keep its fundamental characteristic that it is showcase for the highest level of technology, a place where the most advanced research is applied.

It is also important that any change to the rules be established with sufficient advance notice knowing also that any change whatsoever inevitably increases cost, at least in the short term. Therefore GPWC is dismayed to note that the cost cutting measures already proposed by the teams in December last year and supported by the manufacturers have effectively been partially disregarded by the FIA. These measures were widely agreed to be reasonable and adequate and would without doubt have considerably reduced costs and fully enhanced the spectacle of Formula One. Whilst it does not believe that the content, and manner of implementation of Wednesday's proposed changes are consistent with the contractual framework under which Formula One operates, GPWC is committed to resolving matters in a manner that supports the sport. GPWC will therefore ask the teams affiliated to its members to analyze the appropriate mechanisms available to them, to ensure that changes are not implemented, or precedents set, that will cause problems for Formula One, the teams and the drivers in the future.

Additionally the five manufacturers discussed in a positive way to supply - if needed - engines to more teams to guarantee that there is no shortage of engines in Formula One in future. GPWC is also pleased to confirm that Ferrari Spa has replaced Fiat Spa as shareholder and partner with BMW, DaimlerChrysler, Ford and Renault and has signed together with its partners an Memorandum of Understanding for a close co-operation.'

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