Bernie Ecclestone is said to be threatening a clampdown on F1 teams displaying sponsor signage in and outside their garages.
For decades teams have displayed logos in their garages without any outside interference. However yesterday they received a letter from Allsport, the organisation that controls trackside advertising, which in effect pointed out that it owns the garage advertising space.
Teams have no doubts that Ecclestone is behind the letter. The suggestion is that it’s part of a wider political game that is going on in relation to Pirelli and the deal it will have with teams, with some teams apparently still trying to negotiate their own special arrangements with the Italian company.
However when questioned by this blog, Ecclestone denied any involvement with the letter or its aims.
“It’s nothing to do with me,” he said. “It’s Allsport that look after all this stuff. Apparently these people [the teams] are putting up signs where they don’t have the rights.”
Asked if Allsport really did have the rights to the garages, Bernie said: “Yes. Everything on the circuit.”
He also denied that there was any connection with the tyre negotiations: “It’s nothing to do with Pirelli. I hope Pirelli don’t get the contract, and Michelin don’t get it, and we can have Avon…”
Teams say that they can find nothing in the Concorde Agreement that suggests any restrictions on advertising in their ‘designated garage space,’ which is defined by the FIA.
It’ll be interesting to see what happens next…