SBD/Issue 204/Leagues & Governing Bodies

F1 Official Denies Meeting Concerning Ecclestone's Future

CVC Capital Denies Wanting To Move
Ecclestone Into Honorary Position
CVC Capital Partners Managing Partner Donald MacKenzie, whose company is the majority owner of F1, has "denied that a meeting took place last week" in which F1 Management Chair Bernie Ecclestone's "future in the sport was discussed," according to Tom Cary of the London TELEGRAPH. MacKenzie "speaking out in support of Ecclestone would appear to suggest that a line has been drawn under the episode and his position is secure for now." But sources said that senior CVC BOD members "discussed moving" Ecclestone "into an honorary role" (TELEGRAPH.co.uk, 7/13). In London, Edward Gorman cited sources as saying that the CVC BOD "met in London on Tuesday to discuss a plan of action to remove Ecclestone in the wake of his ill-judged praise of Adolf Hitler in an interview" earlier this month. The "suggestion was that CVC had decided enough was enough" and that Ecclestone, "who has run the sport for the past 30 years, should be 'moved upstairs.'" Gorman notes Ecclestone denied the reports and took the "unusual course of action of phoning ... the normally media-shy" MacKenzie to "set the record straight" (LONDON TIMES, 7/13). In his original report, the TELEGRAPH's Cary reports WPP CEO Martin Sorrell and Nestle Chair Peter Brabeck-Letmathe were among the CVC BOD members who "met in London on Tuesday to decide a plan of action." Sorrell also "advised Ecclestone not to attend" yesterday's Santander German Grand Prix, "advice which the latter ignored" (London TELEGRAPH, 7/13).

MINUS TWO? In London, Edward Gorman reported FIA President Max Mosley "will not stand for election again." Ecclestone: "I have no doubt in my mind, as long as I've known Max, he's always done what he said he would do" (LONDON TIMES, 7/11). In Manchester, Paul Hayward wrote the question is not whether removing Ecclestone and Mosley "will restore F1's identity but whether F1 has an identity to restore." F1 has "treated its audience with contempt for so long that one wonders whether it can ever learn how to behave, post-Max and Bernie" (GUARDIAN.co.uk, 7/12).

ACTING QUICKLY: In London, Sylt & Reid reported Ecclestone "began preparations for a new series called GP1," as Ecclestone's company Epsilon Ltd. filed "trademark applications for logos to 'GP1 Series' and 'GP1.'" Epsilon also "bid for trademark ownership of the words 'Formula Grand Prix' and 'Formula GP.'" Sylt & Reid noted the applications, which "cover sporting events, broadcasting and clothing," were "made on June 19, the same day that the top eight F1 teams announced they would set up their own rival series" (London SUNDAY EXPRESS, 7/12).

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