Following a series of constructive discussions between the shareholders of both potential F1 rival GPWC and SLEC, and grand prix guru Bernie Ecclestone, a memorandum of understanding all but securing the future structure of Formula One has been unanimously agreed and signed.

The GPWC, representing car giants BMW, DaimlerChrysler, Ferrari, Ford and Renault, met with the SLEC shareholders - finance houses Bayerische Landesbank, JP Morgan, Lehman Brothers and the Ecclestone-owned Bambino Holdings Limited - as well as Ecclestone himself, on behalf of Formula One Administration Limited, to hammer out various issues in order to reach an agreement on how the sport should be run and structured in the future.

Amongst the items agreed was an increase in revenue for all competing teams over and above what they currently receive under the current Concorde Agreement. This has long been a sticking point in negotiations over the future of F1, with GPWC threatening a breakaway series should the distribution of income not be changed to benefit the competitors.

"This memorandum of understanding incorporates GPWC's core objectives and is in the very best interests of the teams and the fans," commented Professor Jurgen Hubbert, chairman of GPWC.

As part of the memorandum, GPWC will also be represented on the SLEC board, with three directors enabling GPWC to contribute its expert knowledge to the sport and to have a say in its long-term success. The current SLEC shareholdings are not anticipated to change significantly despite the appointment, with Bayerische Landesbank, JP Morgan and Lehman Brothers continuing to own a majority of the SLEC shares. Ecclestone, currently CEO of Formula One Administration, will continue to run the company in that capacity.

"With this memorandum of understanding, we have created a stable and long-term platform for all constituents of Formula One, most importantly the teams," said SLEC shareholder representative Dr Gerhard Gribkowsky, "At the same time, we have secured the commercial basis for the financial stability of Formula One."

All signatories have committed to an IPO of the company in the short-to-medium term, and agreed that an extension to the current Concorde Agreement, which is due to expire in 2007, should be part of the overall plan for Formula One. Definitive agreements are in preparation and targeted to be signed mid-2004, with effect from the 2004 season.

"Obviously, my main interest has always been to secure the long-term future of Formula One," Ecclestone insisted, "With an amended and extended Concorde Agreement about to be signed, and a general consensus on the key issues, I am very optimistic."

A joint press conference will be scheduled for mid January 2004.

 

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