First part of this Thursday's FIA press conference, with Flavio
Briatore (Renault), Eddie Jordan (Jordan) and Tony Purnell
NOTE: Eddie Jordan is representing the Jordan team rather than Ian
Phillips and David Richards is not here through Force Majeur as he
was retained in Europe, for the Contracts Recognition Board hearing.
Continuing the policy of a guest questioner, we have, this time, Matt
Bishop of F1 Racing.
A question to all of you. Here we are in China, an extraordinary
facility. Can you just say something about the achievement and the
importance and significance of the first Chinese Grand Prix?
Eddie JORDAN: I came out here, I think, at Christmas time and was
hugely impressed and similarly, a little bit like Bahrain, not really
believing they could get it all completed. What we see here is
absolutely amazing, fantastic, and they need all the congratulations
that you can imagine because itís the detail, itís things like the
teamsí rooms and the facilities there and we donít have that anywhere
else, and these people have set the benchmark. Also, I think China is
particularly important. It is the emerging or emerged marketplace of
the future, we have collected three sponsors from here, which is
always a good sign Ė I might as well give them a plug: Citibank, B&Q
and Beijing Chateau Ė and look, to get those people to come to
someone like Jordan I am enormously pleased, so long may it continue
here in China.
Tony PURNELL: I have travelled around China a bit in the last few
months and the way the country has modernised is incredible. It is a
statement to the world that China is arriving and is one of the most
modern nations on the planet. This is the way to do it, with Formula
One, and I am looking forward to the weekend.
Flavio BRIATORE: I agree with Eddie and what everybody has said Ė the
circuit is fantastic. This is an example, in Asia, we see Malaysia,
we see Bahrain, we see Shanghai, it is much better than Europe. The
circuits in Europe are now looking really, really bad. We should
invite promoters from Europe, from Magny Cours and Silverstone, to
EJ: He obviously hasnít said Imola andÖ
FB: Eddie, I said examplesÖ
EJ: Okay, sorry.
So, you are saying, Flavio, that the European facilities are not
comparable and arenít satisfactory?
FB: No, honestly, you see enough in Bahrain, forget Malaysia, this is
fantastic and, I mean, to beat this one is really, really difficult.
For me, Bahrain was already impressive but this one is better.
Really, the circuits in Europe, the facilities are very poor. We have
six or seven circuits that are not for Formula One any more, there
are no facilities at all, and we pay the same price anyway.
Okay, well, the Chinese Grand Prix is the good news. I suppose
the bad news was provided by Tony on Friday. Tony, could you please
clarify Fridayís announcement for us all? Ford has said that Jaguar
racing will not be in Formula One next year but the team is for sale
is that correct?
TP: Thatís correct, yes.
Any interest yet? Buyers?
TP: There is masses of interest. Of course, Formula One generates a
lot of people who want to take a chance and we are sifting through
the realistic buyers from the, erm, chancers, if you will, and there
is masses of interest and I think one has to be fairly confident that
a solution will be found.
You say there is a lot of interest and you are sifting through
the bids, but can you answer this: Is HSBC and Ford, because I gather
HSBC are handling the sale, are you only going to take bids from
credible, blue-chip parties or would you be willing to sell to an
ambitious entrepreneur for the right price?
TP: The fact is that we are only going to sell to a credible buyer
and the idea of buying a Formula One team is a little bit of a
misnomer, it is all about funding a Formula One team on an ongoing
basis and we are only going to change the ownership to somebody who
has the means to do a credible job for two or three years. There is
no interest in taking a chance with someone who is hoping for a
sponsor on a wing and a prayer and goes bust halfway through next
year. Thatís not going to happen.
And it is pretty common knowledge that Red Bull was a possibility
earlier in the year and that possibly that didnít happen, maybe,
because of the Ford Motor Company, but Ford Motor Company is not an
issue any more.
TP: The whole process is a confidential one, so I am not going to
talk about any individual bid, but rest assured, I have contacted
every potential buyer that I know of and I have to say one of the big
challenges at the moment is finding time to sleep because it is a
global business so I am getting phone calls night and day.
And you said in the last few months you have travelled
extensively in China. Presumably that was just tourism?
TP: (Laughs) No, I see what is going on in this country and one day I
am sure they will be a player in Formula One and like Eddie I saw
there was real potential here for sponsorship and maybe something to
produce a compelling business case for Ford. Sadly that wasnít the
way it ended up.
You are a Ford man. Do you think Ford has behaved properly in
TP: When you are a company as big as Ford you do have to make brutal
decisions and with their Jaguar car brand they had a lot of
difficulties this year, they have had to close a big plant, so I
understand why they feel this was a necessary move. When you look
back, in retrospect, there are always better ways to handle any
situation and I am sure thatís the case here as always, but hopefully
this will turn out well for the employees. I have had nothing but
complements from the Ford board about the way we have managed the
company in the last two years. The press have been very kind to how
good the team is and how well itís run these days, and I think that
if we donít find a sort of keen new owner it says much more about the
health of Formula One as a business than anything to do about the
present players. So, Ford today are being helpful in trying to find a
buyer and thatís what I want more than anything.
Well, we all want that, I am sure everyone hopes that there is a
buyer both for Jaguar Racing and Cosworth Racing, but Eddie to your
right and Paul Stoddart, who is in attendance here, have both, I am
sure, had potential interest from buyers over the last little while
and due diligences and so on. Do you really think it is possible that
you can sell the team by November 15, which is when you have to lodge
your application to compete in the 2005 championship?
TP: Absolutely I believe that, and if I didnít I wouldnít be
Okay. What would your message be to the mechanics and engineers
and everybody, who have done such a good job?
TP: Well, look, the spirit in the team, given the circumstances, is
phenomenal. They have come here absolutely wanting to prove that the
team is capable of running and getting points, and thatís this
weekendís mission. I know some of the top guys at Jaguar have been
approached by some of the very top teams in Formula One, been offered
fabulous jobs and instead, they have said Ďno, we want to stick with
thisí because they have something really, really good going here. I
canít imagine handing someone who wanted to be in Formula One a
better starting point and, compared to previous years, the barrier to
entry is as low as possible now. So, for somebody who really wants to
see their brand globalised through success in Formula One, there
couldnít be a better opportunity than there is now.
Staying on the same subject, but moving to Eddie, we have just
had Black Friday. When did you get notice of Fordís decision to pull
Jaguar Racing, and more particularly Cosworth Racing, out of Formula
EJ: Well, my situation is slightly different, where I have an
instruction from Tony that I am only allowed to speak to Tony or
Bernard Ferguson (of Cosworth) on any matter relating to our
relationship. Either they were busy or their phones were turned off,
but I wasnít able to reach either of them. But, to be fair, I was
told that they were not allowed to speak to me as well. So, it was
kind of complicated. I wasnít sure what was happening, but then I was
in a meeting and at 20 or 15 minutes before 12, when the announcement
was made, there was a bit of panic but Richard Parry-Jones did speak
to me, he did tell me then.
Obviously, you have spent a lot of money on Cosworth engines in
recent years. Do you think that was an appropriate way to be treated
as a customer?
EJ: Well, you can have your own view but I am not so sure the people
in the media need to know that and if you have spent $38 million
(Dollars) someone should have told you in advance to give you some
notice to tell your sponsors and stuff so it wasnít out the dark, I
donít know. Everybody plays this differently, so I am not going to
castigate somebody. But when you give people notice then it spreads
out and it leaks, so there are obviously different arguments for
both. I felt very much a part of Ford. Itís not easy to win a race
these days, we all know, and I have won a race with them, albeit
extremely luckily by some peoplesí standards. It was lucky, but we
did win a race for Ford, so I can feel that the relationship has
split with some element of success. But I am really, really
disappointed because I thought they were going to change the name and
that Jaguar was going to become Ford. Tony himself went to see our
sponsor, Deutsche Post, with Ford Motorsport and told them what they
were going to do and that was only two weeks ago. That obviously came
back, Tony and I discussed that at the last race and they had felt
very good about us and the Ford connection. So I donít know what
happened in those two weeks but obviously a complete change of tack
has happened, but it completely blew me away. I had no idea that
Cosworth and Ford were going to exit through Jaguar. And I have
written to Tony and said I am disappointed for him and his
TP: Eddie gave me just about the first phone call I got after the
announcement and it was a very warmÖ
EJ: It wasnít that abusive at that stage! (Laughter)
Actually, I was going to bring you in there to say, obviously,
that it is significant that Eddie feels understandably disappointed,
but there are significant things he is not saying as well. How do you
react to his indication that he has been hard done by and unfairly
TP: Itís a business arrangement, you know, and it is always wrong to
use these events to discuss business relationships.
Eddie, you obviously were expecting to use Ford Cosworth engines
next year. That has now gone into a very questionable area. What
impact has this news had on your teamís chances of survival?
EJ: Well, I think itís fair Ė I donít know if Tony wants to discuss
it Ė but there are certain things with Ford now no longerÖ.what
surprised me, when Richard Parry-Jones spoke to me he gave me a
glimmer of hope when he said Ďlook, Tony will speak to you tomorrow
or whenever itís possible for you to get togetherí and I wanted to
speak to Tony straight away because he gave me a glimmer of hope and
said Ďlook, I think there may be something that we can do to supply
you with Cosworthí. When I spoke to Tony, actually the thing that
Cosworth were prepared to do was to double the price of the engine,
which was because Ford could no longer put money in to develop the
engine. So, the good news was that maybe Cosworth would give us an
engine, but at a price that was double that we were already paying,
so I canít see how that would work.
So you wont be taking them up on that offer then?
EJ: Well, they havenít put it in writing yet. I am eagerly awaiting
that piece of script.
Second part of this Thursday's FIA press conference, with Flavio
Briatore (Renault), Eddie Jordan (Jordan) and Tony Purnell
Well, I have to ask the question Eddie: Will Jordan be on the
grid in Melbourne next year, do you think?
EJ: Well, itís a difficult one to answer if one is to be realistic
about the situation. I am an absolute fighter, as indeed, may I say,
are the vast majority of the private teams, and I am not just giving
a little Ďone-upí for the private teams. But, look, what happened
last weekend with Ford is every justification that the private teams
are very essential to Formula One, because we are there through hard
times, tough times, and it has been a tough time for Jordan. We had
our good times, but we are happy to wait aroundÖ(microphone cuts).
Iím back, they canít get rid of me that easy! (Laughter). Somebody
from Ford in there, doing theÖsorry Tony! Where was I? Look! I
believe firmly that Formula One has to have a strong element of the
private teams because manufacturers come and go as and when, and the
private teams are the people who keep preserving that platform to
enable manufacturers, who we all need in the championship (to enter).
But the foundation of that championship has to be on the continual
performance of private teams, so I will fight tooth and nail to be on
that grid in Australia next year, but can I guarantee anything? I am
not prepared to discuss that at the moment. But for sure I wonít go
down without a big fight.
Eddie, you say Formula One needs the privateer teams, but Bernie
Ecclestone doesnít agree with you. Yesterday on Radio Five Live, and
I can quote actually, he said: ďSure, the brand in Formula One is big
enough to survive all these things, in fact it will probably be
better. Three cars from all the top teams and we will have 20 very
competitive cars.í In the circumstances, when itís no secret that
your teamís for sale, Tonyís team is for sale, other teams are for
sale, Paul Stoddart is sitting here, his teamís for sale. Do you
think the commercial rights holder has been helpful by publicising
EJ: I am sure he has his own view as to why he said that, but just
taking a cold view without going to talk to him about what his
rationale was (behind that comment)Öhow can you create and motivate
staff when you get those sort of comments from the leader of your
championship? When you are talking to a sponsor itís very easy for
another team to come and say Ďlook, you have heard what he said, why
bother being with Jordan, come with usí, and the same with the staff.
But I am sure Bernie has something in the back of his mind which he
may be trying to help, but I wish it was just a bit more obvious for
us. I am not going to make comment as to why Bernie said something.
He said it, itís what he believes in, he is a very straightforward
guy, thatís what he believes. I believe differently. I believe there
is a place for the private teams. I believe we need as much
assistance as we can because, remember, we have all done particularly
well out of this business because most of you people here have been
the same people here 20 something years ago. And on that basis, we
owe our career, our lives to this sport, it has been very good to us,
but when itís in trouble you have to dig deep and pull it back out Ė
and we need to dig deep at the moment.
Tony, do you think Bernieís remarks have helped your chances of
selling the team?
TP: I think they are neutral at the end of the day. Formula Oneís
health will be measured by a good grid of well-funded teams with
sponsors that are there because it makes good business sense. The
teams are there because it adds up. At the moment there is a little
bit of a crisis because for the top manufacturer teams it adds up and
for the rest of the grid it doesnít, and I have urged reform over the
last year, both commercially and technically, to get the sport under
control, and it does need to lower its costs, it needs to improve the
business case to be healthy. Bernie is well aware of that and he will
Flavio, Bernie Ecclestone has talked about three car teams. What
would the implication be for running three cars for a team like
Flavio BRIATORE: I think this press conference makes no sense. Here
we are in China for the first race and you start talking about the
problem for Jordan. If Jordan has a problem and if Tony has a
problem, Iím sure this is not the place to resolve the problem.
Instead of being enthusiastic to come to this place, where the people
have made a lot of effort to prepare for an incredible race, you guys
try to turn things around as usual for no reason. Really. Iím not
prepared to answer any questions because I donít like a press
conference like this, only talking about the problems for Formula
One. Everybody has problems, not only in these areas. We need to
resolve our problems. If somebody makes a $300m or $400m investment
in Formula One, I think this is very positive for Formula One, but
you guys only like to look at the bad things. Thereís a lot of
jealousy and you guys are part of that jealousy. I think this press
conference is completely disgusting.
Iím only asking the questions because Ford has made this
announcement, so itís of interest to all journalists.
FB: Yeah, I donít think people in China are so interested about
Cosworth or Jordan. I think they are interested to see the race, to
make sure that everyoneís on the grid on Sunday and it looks like
everyone will be on the grid on Sunday and if Jordan is on the grid
in Melbourne, I donít think itís really a question you need to ask to
Jordan. Jordan has a team, has the consultantsÖ You know, we are
running a business, we are not shy and sure, we are not resolving our
businesses in front of you guys. This is completely mad. We are
losing time, you guys are losing time for nothing.
Well I did want to ask you questions about this weekend, for
instance, your driver Jacques Villeneuve, would you like to answer
questions about how that came about?
FB: Yeah, because itís part of the race, itís part of the show weíre
putting on in China. I like to answer this question. But if you ask
me about my budget, or Renaultís budget, or whether Renault wants to
give engines to Eddie, I would tell you no. Iím sick and tired of
this kind of conference.
OK, but Iím asking you if you could explain how the Jacques
Villeneuve deal came about?
FB: Jacques Villeneuve is driving for me tomorrow; tomorrow he starts
practice like everybody. Weíve going to give him as much mileage as
possible because he hasnít been in the car for ten months. I believe
itís good news for all of Formula One, because now that the World
Championship is finished nobody is asking any longer Ďis Michael
winning this race or the next one?í And only the good news,
or the different news is Villeneuve. I believe we are making a
contribution to talking about positive things in Formula One.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
(Stan Piecha Ė The Sun) Flavio, you were talking about Jacques
Villeneuve. Do you think heís still got what it takes to be a winner,
and if so, why didnít you sign him for next year?
FB: I donít know. (Laughter). I needed to have something in the team
and Iím not in the same situation as Tony or Jordan. When youíre in
the same situation as I am in for the last four races, you have 800
people in the team, you are pushing everybody very hard to make the
pieces for both cars, to make sure the car is competitive, and
afterwards you see one driver making a big effort and one driver
making less effort. It was very very difficult for the team, and I
needed to do something. I believe what Iíve done is something
sensible, it was my only opportunity. I talked to Jacques and he
looked like he was together. He wanted to race and was very motivated
to race against BAR anyway, so this was something more, a plus and it
looked good. If you tell me tomorrow what heís doing on SundayÖ he
will make the car finish in the points. This is what I need from
Jacques, to motivate the team, motivate Fernando and this is what Iím
trying to do, to have a point, to finish second in the championship.
And next year? Iíve already signed Fisichella. It was very
difficult to sign both drivers.
(Dan Knutson Ė National Speedsport News) Gentlemen, as you say,
this is a state of the art track, it sets the benchmark. But how do
we balance out keeping those tracks in Europe that maybe donít have
the money but have supported Formula One for 30 or 40 or 50 years,
and do have the tradition that we do want to keep in there? How do we
balance out maybe keeping those tracks in, compared to having this
one and Bahrain etc?
TP: I think that the way itís heading is that weíre going to have
more races. Formula One attracts massive publicity, people want to
see it and the solution seems to me to give them more races, so I
think thatís the way itís going to head. Whether the teams find that
arduous or not, I think the future beckons with more races so that
the great European races are kept alive and the great new world race
tracks are used to their fullest extent. Itís actually a good problem
EJ: Yes, thatís exactly right. You have to make sure that you keep
putting the level of the benchmark up, the bar as if youíre doing the
high jump and this is at the highest point now, this is World
Championship. Bahrain, here, as Flavio said, Malaysia, a couple of
very good races. Of course we all enjoyÖ What is happening,
unfortunately, is that the Ė as we call them Ė flyaway races seem to
have that much better edge to them at the moment and thereís more
excitement. People talk about them and this is a big race. Not many
people knew what they were going to expect. The city, what theyíve
built in the last ten years, is just phenomenal. Next year weíre
going to Turkey and then thereís talk about a race in Northern Africa
or one in Russia. You can see whatís happening. There is money, there
is a bigger demand for this kind of business and usually supply and
demand come together quite well and thatís whatís happening. I think
that you will find that there will be more flyaway races because
these countries see that thereís a huge economic value for it, which
may be because the European people have got a little bit lazy or
tired with that or maybe thereís too many other sporting issues:
football, rugby, golf, God knows what. In China and these other
places, maybe this is the biggest sporting event on their calendar
every year so theyíre making sure that they put a huge effort into
making sure that they get full recognition and value for
FB: I think the same. What is important to understand as well is that
at this moment we have done double the mileage in testing and not in
the race. You know the race is all about winning money, testing we
are losing money and we double the mileage. Our point is that we
should stop that. I agree as well that we need to have more income
and everybody is happy about that and Iím sure we are getting to the
point where we have more income for the team, itís fundamental. But
we need to cap the expenses as well, because if you have $50m more
you spend $50m. Our people are phenomenal at spending money. Iíve
never seen people like that. If I have ten, people spend eleven. We
need more races. Our job is racing and we need to cut testing,
because testing costs you exactly the same as racing, and a facility
like this is fantastic for a sponsor, fantastic for Formula One.
People are investing millions and millions of dollars in our
TP: Just an observation: donít forget that this is the newest track
in the world, it should be the best track in the world. The European
ones are 20- or 30-years old. One day this place will be 20- or 30-
years old. Itís very, very attractive now, itís the benchmark but the
European tracks were built a very long time ago. You canít really
redo them every week.
EJ: Itís like a car. If you donít invest in it you donít sell
Third and final part of this Thursday's FIA press conference, with
Flavio Briatore (Renault), Eddie Jordan (Jordan) and Tony Purnell
(Ottavo Daviddi Ė Tuttosport) Flavio, you did a good operation
with Supertec when Renault was in a similar position that Ford is in
now. Are you interested, as Flavio Briatore, not as the manager of
Renault, to repeat the same operation with Cosworth?
FB: I think the timing was different. Sure, I was with Renault and
they gave us notice one year before. But itís something if you have
one year notice you know what you are doing. And itís something if
you have two months notice, you know what youíre doing. I think the
situation with Eddie and Tony is really difficult. With Renault it
was quite simple. A year before, they told me that next year they had
a different strategy. Was I interested in taking Renault Sport at the
time? I had one year to think about it, one year to find a customer
because at the time, the problem for me was to find a customer. And
in the end I did the deal. It was great for me, for Renault, for the
team. Now the situation is a little bit different because Formula One
is very demanding and the manufacturer has a different speed,
different expenses as well and I am too busy trying to keep Renault
in second place this year and maybe win the championship next year. I
donít really have time to do that.
(Anthony Rowlinson Ė Autosport) If, as you indicate, there is so
much money in the sport and so much demand for more races, why is it
so difficult for the smaller teams to find enough money to survive in
FB: Like I said before, Formula One has changed a little bit with the
manufacturers. I started with a small team, very very small, and
basically started at the same time as Eddie Ė one year earlier, two
years earlier. As a matter of fact, I tried to get Eddie to work for
me at one point. Eddie had a F3000 team. Itís different, the world
changes; now itís very, very difficult. I tell you why; it is very
simple: Formula One costs too much, it is no secret. For the sponsor,
itís a big, big investment. You need the decision of the board of the
company beforeÖ In our time, the commercial director did the deal
with us. Now, because it costs so much money you need the decision of
the board of directors. This is the problem. You need to cut
expenses. Add more income from Bernie or the bank or whoever is the
owner of Formula One and after that we need to improve the
sponsorship. Really, at the moment, we are asking too much of the
sponsor to be in Formula One, and we give too little.
EJ: Letís be very clear. The problem with the smaller teams, itís not
anyone elseís problem but their own. Itís I, my obligation to the
Jordan team, to find the commercial way to give us the best
competitive edge. And whilst that may have been easier in years gone
by as Flavio says, you canít really blame manufacturers. They can
spend what they want. Itís their business. There is no cut, thereís
no cap, it is arguable whether itís the right thing to do, even if
you did do it. You cannot restrict people spending what they want to
spend. We do live in a democracy. I have failed in being able to
attract the right level of commercial sponsorship for my team. But
the team has to run in profit, otherwise you are insolvent and you
can be wound up. The difference is, when youíre a manufacturer, if
there is a budget and if the team loses the money - itís no secret,
most of the teams if not all of the teams are losing money Ė but when
you have, if you like, a manufacturer that has the ability to offset
certain costs against certain things, then you are lucky. Youíre not
in a privileged position, itís just the way life is and thatís the
way it is between the manufacturer teams and the private teams.
There is not enough money to go around at the moment and we seem to
be fighting other sports that perhaps are beginning to become more
assertive as to how they go about their business so the parameters
have changed and we just have to find a new way of finding extra
money. So itís our fault, not anyone elseís.
TP: For me, being in charge of a Formula One team you see how all the
accounts work. The sponsorship and the team costs match, broad brush,
but thereís still a buoyant market with the sponsors but you have got
to be able to tell your sponsor a good story about how youíre going
to do well. The bit that becomes very difficult is if you have to
purchase the engines, like Eddie does, because that means money that
could go to the team goes to the engine and you want to be able to
say to a prospective sponsor Ďwe can compete at the highest levelí.
And for that, you need a modern, up-to-date engine. So if the
independent teams have a future, it will be decided by engine supply,
because thatís the only bit of the economics that fails to add up.
The cost of the team and the sponsorship you can raise for a team,
match quite nicely and if you do a good job, you get lots of
sponsors. If you struggle, itís much more of an issue. But you must
give the sponsor a coherent story that you can do well. And if you
have to spend millions and millions of dollars on the engine when
your team is struggling to do the things it needs to do, itís not a
good story. I think thatís why Eddie has struggled, and Paul, and
there is no room for the independent teams until that is resolved. Is
EJ: We shouldnít go too far into that but itís fair that you have to
add yourself into that. Jaguar Racing has under-performed this year
and I think anyone, with the greatest respectÖ we had all hoped for
more performance from the engine and by your own admission we are too
far behind the big guys. Now whether thatís the investment that Ford
should have put into the engine as part of the agreement I donít
know. I donít want to get into a political argument, that should be
done outside, but it is clear that for every 10hp you have 0.15
seconds per lap so if you multiply that by ten or 14 or whatever
youíre down on the engine, the amount of money put in by big engine
manufacturers is mind-blowing, so maybe itís not all Fordís fault. It
is very easy to sit up here and point the finger and blame everybody,
but it all comes down to the same thing. You have to look at yourself
in the mirror and say ĎI did a lousy job, I didnít find the money.í
Thatís it, end of story.
(Alberto Antonini Ė Autosprint) Tony, just for reasons of
clarity, when you hand your team over to a possible buyer, what does
the buyer actually own? Machinery, premises, people, TV rights and
intellectual property, whatever? Does the potential buyer buy
into all those things?
TP: Yeah. If you want to buy the team you get the lot Ė wind tunnels,
machinery, staff, position in the Concorde Agreement, everything.
(Alain Pernot Ė LíAuto-Journal) Flavio, did you consider the
possibility to run Renault test driver Franck Montagny for the last
three Grands Prix?
FB: It looks like not. (Laughter). Not at any time. Never, touch
wood, have had force majeure, absolutely not, because we decided to
run Jacques Villeneuve for the last three races. We announced this
one week ago and we stuck with the decision.
(Stan Piecha) Tony, you were talking about a buyer for your team.
How much would it cost?
FB: OK, letís start the negotiations. Somebody want to buy?
EJ: Flavio should buy, donít we agree? Heís got more cash than anyone
TP: Itís not about the purchase price, itís about a good sponsor for
the years to come.
EJ: Sorry, I would like clarification on that. Are you saying you
would turn down money? Are you saying you would turn down, in your
view, a bad purchaser? Or is all money the same? Because, do you know
something, when I go to my bank manager on Monday morning, he doesnít
like cashing promises. He doesnít know how to do them. But he does
like cash, and he does like cheques, and bank transfers Ė loves them Ė
but he hates promises. So if you could try and tell me what a good
sponsor and a bad sponsor, because I started in banking and I never
met any kind of an agreement like that before but maybe itís a new
one, I donít know. Try me.
TP: If you are multinational or a billionaire you are
FB: The colour of the money.
EJ: But you know when I go to the bingo hall at night and I buy my
book of cards, my money is the same as the granny next door and I
still get a book of cards and the guy handing them out doesnít make
the choice whether I deserve one or donít deserve one. Are you going
to have a selection committee, that youíll have that many buyers?
Whatís the story? Can you please give us some idea? Because I could
do with a partner and I tell you what: I havenít found one yet and I
donít know how heís going to do it in the next week.
TP: We are trivialising a serious episode. Itís being very
professionally handled. Ford will not sell to a buyer who does not
have the credibility to take the team forwards.
EJ: Unlike me.
FB: Exactly, this is the reason why you ask this question.
(Alan Baldwin Ė Reuters) Eddie, question for you. Jaguar have to
make a decision on the sale by mid-November, clearly. Putting it
bluntly, how long have you got? When is the point of no return for
EJ: Well, I make my own decisions. Ford can make decisions in a very
sHort number of minutes and l suppose I could do the same. And on
that basis I intend to be in Adelaide or, where is it? (Laughter)
Melbourne, yeah. God bless Adelaide. I tell you, this
business make you a bit scrambled up in the head. Look what happened
to Flavio! The reality is, why should I make a decision today when I
donít have to make that decision? Ford have made their decision. Iím
going to do everything possible. I feel Jordan is a credible member
of Formula One and will break its balls until itís proved itself that
it canít do it. It will do everything it possibly can. So Iím not
going to answer, I canít answer the question. I will fight Ďtill I
can no longer fight.
TP: Itís very easy to conjure up doom and gloom on all this but the
fact is that you only have to see this circuit to see that Formula
One does attract a great deal of money. Itís a very attractive sport
to millions of people weekend in and out and given that environment I
believe that people will step up and say we want to use this platform
to promote our brand or our business. The next few months will tell
if that optimism is justified or not.
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