Bernie Ecclestone has sought to downplay fears the struggling economy is already having an effect on Formula 1 - but stressed that the sport may yet feel the pinch as manufacturers and suppliers find it increasingly difficult to make ends meet.

With the European Union nearly in official recession, it has been claimed that Austrian F1 supplier Pankl registered losses of more than EUR1 million over the last trading quarter, with further suggestions that Renault-affiliated French engine-preparing firm Mecachrome is set to withdraw from the top flight as a result of similar issues.

"It seems that everyone is affected," F1 ringmaster Ecclestone reflected in an interview with Spanish newspaper El Mundo, "but we will have to wait and see.

"At the moment we are not noticing it, but we are not immune to anything. We will have to be prepared."

Mecachrome, meanwhile, has released a statement to fervently deny that it is considering pulling the plug on its F1 involvement in light of the current financial climate.

A number of sources had stated that with Renault now electing to supply all of its own engine components, Mecachrome has in effect been made redundant in the top flight and has decided instead to switch its focus to the Le Mans 24 Hours.

'Mecachrome France categorically refutes the news report, first published in Swiss-based Motorsport Aktuell and repeated on August 18, 2008 in Global Motorsports Media and on Update, that the company is withdrawing from Formula 1 racing following Renault's decision to supply its own high-performance components,' the statement read.

'The agreement entered into by these two companies continues to run its course and Mecachrome is, at present, actively co-operating in the development of these high-performance components for Renault. F1 involvement will remain one of the company's key activities.'


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