F1 split now ’inevitable’?
A 'breakaway' grand prix-style championship is now almost inevitable.
That's the insistence of two players on or near the inside of the carmakers' ploy to make more money, amid failing negotiations with the FIA and formula one supremo Bernie Ecclestone.
''We have nearly reached the point of no return,'' said BMW's Burkhard Goeschel, who is chief of the 'GPMA' alliance.
He told Reuters: ''The decision should happen within this year.''
A genuine split into two would be a disaster for the pinnacle of motor sport, with carmakers BMW, Mercedes, Renault, Honda and Toyota on one side, and Ferrari on the other.
"I think we are heading now sadly to two series," said Paul Stoddart. "It is looking increasingly more obvious. The manufacturers have made a very clear statement that they want a fair and equitable Formula One. But I can't see (FIA president) Max Mosley backing down and equally I can't see the manufacturers backing down so I suppose the net result of that is that there will be most likely the two championships which everybody fears."
"It's probably not a good time for me to get too political but I find it hard to stand by and say nothing," Stoddart said. "Throughout the first half of this year I was quite boisterous about wanting reform and change. You will notice all of this went quiet around Silverstone when I gave diplomacy a chance. That diplomacy has failed miserably and as a result of that we are now faced with two championships. You get to the point where that becomes inevitable, there's no point fighting it any longer you may as well just get on with it."
The Formula One commission will meet on October 24, the first time in more than one year, to discuss the future and Stoddart believes that is the only chance of change being effected.
"There's a Formula One commissions meeting coming up and we haven't had one of those since 28 June 2004," said Stoddart. "That's the proper venue to effect change in Formula One. There is going to be an over-riding temptation to have a lot to say in that meeting. At the moment the jury is out. There are two schools of thought, one that there's a lot of things that need saying and haven't been said and equally there is some reason to keep quiet for the time being in the hope that some sort of diplomacy can survive."
"I don't want to be the person that really throws a hand grenade and makes it impossible for the two sides to reconcile because in the long term that's what's good for Formula One," Stoddart continued. "We do need a reconciliation. I have to say that at the moment I am probably the most optimistic person you will ever find on Formula One and I feel pretty pessimistic about the chance of there not being two series."