Fiat losses could be $2bn

Italy's Minister of Industry Antonio Marzano told Italian pressmen yesterday that Fiat's losses for 2002 are likely to be "not much beyond two billion euros". Of this 1.4bn is expected to come from the troubled car division Fiat Auto. There are various plans under discussion to rescue the company - Italy's biggest enterprise - but there are fears in Formula 1 circles that this would have a dramatic effect on Ferrari, which is also Fiat owned.

The death of Ferrari protector Gianni Agnelli could be important as other board members have less of an emotional attachment to the luxury car maker and may be pushing for it to be sold off. The alternative is to create a new luxury car company with Ferrari at the centre but this could also be negative for the F1 programme as there will be more pressure for the company to produce profits which at the moment are being spent on F1.

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