• F1 finances

'Bernie stole F1 from us' - Ron Dennis

ESPNF1 Staff
December 21, 2010 « BBC recognises Williams' achievements | »
Ron Dennis and Bernie Ecclestone exchange views © Getty Images
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McLaren chairman Ron Dennis has accused Bernie Ecclestone of stealing Formula One's commercial rights from the teams. His comments appear in the new Ecclestone biography Bernie by Susan Watkins which was published last week.

"Bernie effectively stole F1 from us," Dennis is quoted as saying, referring to the transfer of the sport's lucrative commercial rights from the team-led Formula One Constructors' Association to Ecclestone's company in the 90s.

"He used this commercial benefit to persuade the teams to accept a contract that eliminated them from the passing of rights as had previously existed."

McLaren - as well as Williams - contested the transaction, claiming that some of the profits of the rights' subsequent sale belonged to them. The British teams also sued the law firms that represented them for giving bad advice, but Ecclestone insists they simply regretted not making a wiser decision.

"It's only when things started to look good and I invested the money and it started to work that they thought maybe they should have done it," Ecclestone countered.