JANUARY 18, 2003
The GPWC statement
The GPWC statement issued yesterday was rather ambiguous in its response to the FIA's changes for the 2003-2006 seasons. The GPWC, which is an organisation formed by Ferrari, BMW, DaimlerChrysler, Ford and Renault, says that it has asked "teams affiliated to its members to analyse the appropriate mechanisms available to them, to ensure that changes are not implemented, or precedents set, that will cause problems for Formula 1, the teams and the drivers in the future".
This seems to suggest, without actually saying it, that the GPWC is against the rule changes and will fight them. The big question that exists is whether or not the GPWC actually has any power over its members because there are known to be a lot of questions amongst teams and some of the GPWC members themselves as to whether the current package being put forward by the GPWC has any advantages over the current structure in F1. The organisation has also incurred the wrath of the FIA by suggesting that it will run its series outside FIA regulation. This was taken to be a declaration of war by the FIA as it sought to undermine the power of the federation. The problem for the GPWC is that the car companies which are supposed to be behind the series are worried that a small matter such as F1 (in the overall scheme of things the sport is of minimal importance to the top men in the automobile companies) will disrupt the relationships that exist between the car firms and the federation. While the car manufacturers are a powerful bunch, the FIA also had considerable influence in political circles and with the general public thanks to some of its schemes, notably crash testing and research into intelligent cars for the future. There are huge areas in which the FIA might cause problems for the car manufacturers if the federation felt it was being challenged and Max Mosley has been very active in recent weeks, meeting the top bosses of car companies to discuss what is happening. The GPWC management is made up largely of subordinates of the top men and not the big bosses themselves.
The GPWC's statement was deliberately ambiguous because the aim now appears to be do a financial deal with the banks involved in F1 to buy the shares in the Formula One group or find a solution which will involve the car manufacturers, the banks and Bernie Ecclestone. We hear from a number of sources that a solution is expected before the midseason once the bargaining has been done.
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