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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Bernie warns: Don't declare war

Formula One ringmaster Bernie Ecclestone has responded to Max Mosley’s extraordinary letter to the FIA, warning his friend and business associate not to go to war with him over control of the sport.

Mosley’s letter last week to the presidents of the FIA’s member clubs alleged a power struggle exists for control of Formula One between the FIA and the “Formula One Commercial Rights Holder (CRH).”

While it never mentions Ecclestone by name, that entity is Ecclestone.

Mosley writes in the letter that a renegotiation is taking place over the 100-year commercial agreement, signed in 2000, between the FIA and the CRH, with the CRH asking to “take over Formula One completely.”

The FIA head says to relieve him of his duties will severely weaken the FIA’s position in the negotiations.

Ecclestone dismissed the allegations to The Times, saying the vote is about what the News of the World reported and if Mosley is fit to head the FIA, not the Concorde Agreement.

Ecclestone said he does not know why Mosley would allege an F1 power struggle exists, and he hopes the letter isn’t a “declaration of war,” warning if it is his organization would be forced to defend itself.

He believes that wasn’t Mosley’s aim, Ecclestone continued, adding he and CVC Capital Partners, the commercial rights holder, intend to follow up with a letter of their own to the club presidents.

Rahal won’t race for a backmarker

Much has been made about Americans coming to Formula One, but the one that might have the best combination of talent and pedigree -- Graham Rahal -- said he would not be interested in such a move if it wasn’t with a top team.

Rahal had previously expressed interest in an F1 move, but that interest seems to have waned.

Rahal told the Indianapolis Star that racing with one of the top teams would be “cool,” but there would be “nothing cool about running for 15th every weekend.”

Rahal made the statement this week while preparing for the Indy 500. The young star has impressed with his road racing skills, first in Champ Car and now the unified U.S-based open-wheel series. He also has experience in A1.

His win on the streets of St. Petersburg made him the youngest winner in a major open-wheel race in the States. The son of Bobby Rahal said with IndyCar and Champ Car now united, he could be satisfied remaining in the U.S. for the rest of his career. Don't miss the top stories of the day, subscribe to the SpeedRead Web newspaper now! -- Email SpeedRead -- Learn more about author C.D. Six

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