Tag Archives: Bernie Ecclestone

Bernie Ecclestone: “FOM and Pirelli have a contract…”

Bernie Ecclestone has downplayed Michelin’s prospects of replacing Pirelli as F1’s sole tyre supplier, despite the French company formally confirming to the FIA that it is interested in the role.

Ecclestone has always been close to Pirelli, while FIA President Jean Todt is known to be sympathetic to Michelin.

One senior team figure told this blog at Spa that it would require a bold decision by Todt to open the door for Michelin at this late stage, and given that an FIA election is the way, such a controversial move seemed unlikely to happen.

When questioned by about Michelin’s chances Ecclestone said simply that “FOM and Pirelli have a contract.”

Asked why there was not yet a contract between the FIA and Pirelli – the one that Paul Hembery is awaiting – Bernie dismissed its relevance.

“We don’t need one, I don’t think,” he told this blog. “They are nothing to do with commercial. The FIA’s position is that they are regulators, they regulate all the regulations that have been agreed.”

He was keen to downplay any role for Todt in the process of selecting the tyre supplier.

“Jean is the president of the FIA. If it’s a matter of a vote in the World Council, he has one vote. As it’s not a matter for the World Council, it doesn’t make a lot of difference.”

Bernie also denied that there was any interest from the teams in joining forces with Michelin.

“None of the teams who have spoken to me have said that. All the teams who have spoken to me say they are very happy with Pirelli, and the problems they’ve had, they’re happy that they’ve dealt with them.”

Although the regulations currently ensure that F1 has a sole supplier, there does seem to be some logic in a potential move towards competition in the future, especially if both companies are willing to pump money into the sport.

Intriguingly Bernie indicated that he does not support the idea of Michelin competing with Pirelli: “Because they will want to pick the teams that they think will win, and they’ll pay them a lot more money to take them as opposed to somebody else. We have a deal with Pirelli, anyway.”

Exactly how the tyre saga will play out in the coming weeks remains to be seen, but the bottom line is that time is running out for all concerned.

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Ecclestone: We’ve compromised enough on New Jersey

Bernie Ecclestone insists that the Grand Prix of America could still find a place on the 2014 F1 calendar, despite having said last week that the New Jersey event definitely won’t be happening due to lack of funds.

However, he has also made it clear that he is running out of patience, having already postponed the race’s debut from this season.

Meanwhile the matter has been complicated by plans for an event in Mexico City gaining momentum, crowding the calendar still further.

A 2014 F1 schedule is expected to emerge either at or just before the FIA World Motor Sport Council gathering on September 27, and Bernie confirmed that is “more or less” the cut-off point for New Jersey.

In essence the promoters have to come up with some funding, and it’s easy to speculate that Bernie is now simply counting the days until the deadline for the event to meet its commercial obligations formally passes.

“They have a contract,” Ecclestone told this writer at Spa. “If they can comply with the contract, we want to be there. If they come to me next week, and show they have complied with whatever it should be, it’s alright. They’ve got to finish the circuit, so they need to pay, and they need to comply with the conditions for us.”

Asked if he really wanted the race to happen, he said: “Yes, of course. We’ve been mucking around and waiting long enough. We’ve compromised enough. We sent them 10 million to pay some of their debts, and keep the doors open, so we’re a little bit serious.”

He made some interesting observations about the efforts of Leo Hindery Jr, the man behind the NJ event, to raise the necessary finance.

“When they signed the contract, the guy definitely looked over 21. Allegedly he’s a very good business guy, and he knew what he was signing. When we made the agreement with him there was no fear about or discussion about could he or couldn’t he afford to pay.”

Ecclestone added that, if the race is eventually confirmed, it is set for an autumn date.

“We’ll worry about it when it happens. But it never was going to be June. Let’s see. We used to have the race in Watkins Glen in October.”

Meanwhile asked whether a recent plea for government funding by the Indian GP promoter suggested that there was a financial crunch for the Delhi event he said: “I’ve no idea. I don’t count people’s money, I rely on them to know what they are doing.”

Bernie also confirmed that the new Austrian event will move from the July 6 slot originally announced by Dietrich Mateschitz: “We’ve changed that date. It will be in the calendar.”

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