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Ecclestone scoffs at breakaway series threat

ESPNF1 Staff
December 17, 2010 « Dirty driving clampdown will hurt Schumacher - Moss | »
Bernie Ecclestone: "They're not going to break away. They've tried it all before." © Getty Images

Bernie Ecclestone has dismissed the possibility of Formula One teams creating a breakaway series in order to secure more of the sport's revenues.

At a media lunch on Thursday, Ferrari president Luca di Monetezemolo mooted several options open to the teams if they were not offered a greater share of the sport's earnings under the next Concorde Agreement. Montezemolo said Ferrari did not want to be "locked in a Formula One prison" and that one theoretical option was for the teams to run the sport themselves.

However, in a longer transcript of the lunch interview on Autosport.com, Montezemolo made clear that Ecclestone would be at the centre of any future direction the sport takes. Instead his grievances appear to be with CVC Capital Partners, which owns the sport and reaps close to 50% of its profit each year.

When contacted for a response by Reuters, Ecclestone made clear that he did not take the threat of a breakaway series - which has existed since the early 1980s when Ecclestone himself was angling for a bigger cut of the revenues on behalf of F1 teams - seriously.

"It's what he [Montezemolo] says every time he goes to Monza every year: 'We need more money'. It's all nonsense," Ecclestone told Reuters. "They're not going to break away. They've tried it all before. Luca's a lovely guy but he likes to say these things and then he forgets what he is saying."

The current Concorde Agreement, which doles out 50% of F1's profits to the teams in prize money, will expire at the end of 2012.