Bernie eyes own ’breakaway’

Bernie Ecclestone, it seems, may be organizing his own 'breakaway' series. The F1 supremo, it has been revealed, has filed a trademark application for the 'GP1' logo, UK publication 'This Is Money' said Wednesday. 'GP1' is a handy asset, as it would slot in nicely beside the newly renamed F3000 support category, known as GP2.

This Is Money said GP1 is a 'contingency plan' for Ecclestone, who recently lost some of his grip on formula one to three equity-owning banks.

Bernie's fully owned 'Formula One Promotions and Administration' has applied for the GP1 trademark to cover sports events, broadcasting, sportswear and timing. Formula One Promotions and Administration has applied for the pan-European trademark rights to the name GP1 covering 16 categories including organizing and staging sports events, broadcasting, sportswear and timing equipment.

The little Englishman clearly regrets selling three quarters of F1's commercial rights, as he said keeping control would have averted the 'nonsense' of a threatened carmaker-led breakaway. ''For years I'd controlled things without any problem,'' he added.

[Editor's Note: GP1 as in Grand Prix 1 series. We always said the Champ Car series should have been called Something Grand Prix Series. Bernie was going to buy CART at one point but recall we told you he had a non-compete clause in the current Concorde Agreement that prevented that from happening. Has the time come for Bernie and Champ Car to merge, or will Bernie, at his ripe old age, go it alone with a new series? Could this be why Kevin Kalkhoven has no desire to merge with the IRL (especially with Tony George in full control) because Bernie waits in the wings? This certainly can make for good Silly Season fodder, both in F1 and Champ Car.]

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