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theage.com.au

Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone has cast doubt on the future of the Jaguar team for which Australian Mark Webber races.
The 73-year-old Englishman, who maintains an emperor-like presence in F1, also says Australian team owner Paul Stoddart's Minardi and the struggling Jordan outfit need to improve or get out of the sport.

Ecclestone's stinging comments came in an interview with Italy's Gazzetta dello Sport.

Jaguar Racing is owned by the giant Ford Motor Company but has achieved little success in four years in F1.

Already there are signs that Jaguar's new R5 model that Webber is due to race at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on March 7 is not up to speed. "How much longer can Ford go on this way?" Ecclestone pondered.

Since Webber joined Jaguar a little more than a year ago Ford and the team have slashed budgets and placed greater emphasis on engineering substance rather than celebrity style.

Webber has a new team-mate for this year, 20-year-old Austrian rookie Christian Klein, whose reported $A20 million in sponsorship from energy drink company Red Bull was decisive in his getting his drive.

"They (Ford and Jaguar) have made a big cut in costs, no wonder they hired a driver with money," Ecclestone said.

Amid reports that the 10 teams in F1 are set to enjoy a larger slice of the sports financial pie under recent restructuring and cost-cutting moves, Ecclestone said the problem was that teams always spend everything they get.

He said big teams like Ferrari, Williams and McLaren freighted 45 tonnes of equipment to GPs when 20 tonnes would be plenty.

"Teams take 100 people to private testing (too), crazy stuff," Ecclestone said.

He had little sympathy for cash-strapped Minardi and Jordan, which he said should sell up rather than beg.

"They should look closely at themselves," Ecclestone said. "Frank Williams (head of the Williams team), years ago, was in much bigger trouble than Jordan (is now), but he was able to pull himself up to the highest success. Why can't Jordan do that?"

Ecclestone said he had no intention of quitting his controversial role at the head of the sport.

"I'd get bored to death," he said.

Meanwhile, the man who controls Webber's contract, Flavio Briatore, said the Australian's future would not be decided until mid-year.

Webber is contracted to Jaguar until the end of 2005 but has been linked to Williams, which will lose Colombian star Juan Pablo Montoya to McLaren next year and almost certainly German Ralf Schumacher too, perhaps to Toyota.

Italian Briatore runs French car maker Renault's F1 team and has not ruled out the possibility he may want Webber to drive for him.

"We will discuss the possibilities in the middle of the year," Briatore said. "But at the moment he is not going to Williams."

-- AAP
 

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Just give me an excuse...
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3,949 Posts
Thats part of the reason i have lost interest in F1. Eccelstone has ruined a lot of it with comments such as claiming underperforming teams should leave. Is that the real issue here?? Personally I think its the spiralling costs of being competative in F1 (actually just been there is). F1 needs MORE teams. The way its going there wil only be Ferrari, Williams and McLaren.
 

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I am The Brain
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I agree totally Paul. Those comments by Ecclestone don't sound like ones of someone interested in making the sport competitive at all, or interesting for people watching.
 

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AKA: Spaniard
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848 Posts
Personally, out off all motor racing I prefer V8 Supercars and Indy. I don't bother with F1 anymore. It's just a monopoly and stuck up for my liking.
 

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Australian Probe Member
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841 Posts
F1 Magazine Queries F1 Boss

http://www.pitpass.com/news2/news.cfm?newsid=8564

Bernie pulls plug on F1 Magazine
6-02-2004


Our spies tell us that Bernie Ecclestone has suddenly, and without notice, pulled the plug on his publication F1 Magazine.
In recent months F1 has increasingly become a lifestyle magazine with poorly photo-shopped covers - usually based on Mr Ecclestone's own concepts - fashion photo-shoots in which the drivers looked uncomfortable, celebrity columns and all manner of other tosh.

In a recent article on this site, editor Chris Balfe referred to F1 Magazine, thus:

The most recent edition of F1 Magazine> left me speechless, which isn't easy.

Five pages devoted to '10 Things.. Every Man Needs', which includes; slick shoes, a hairstylist, smart wallet, kick-ass stereo, cool watch and worn-in jeans. Another page featuring Bridgestone's art collection. A review of eight different colognes. A two-page feature on what fashionable shirts drivers should be wearing, and ten pages of clothing featuring various models wearing checks. There were moments when I seriously thought I was reading Cosmopolitan.

Now if this is what F1 Magazine thinks its readers want, fine. Indeed if this is what its reader do want, fine again. But if this is the direction in which F1 as a sport is heading please let me know in order that I can find something more worthwhile to do with my time.

There's also a six-page interview with Justin Wilson and the poor guy looks as though he's just heard that Christian Klien is heading to Milton Keynes for his seat-fitting. Justin pours his heart out whilst looking extremely uncomfortable in a number of naff poses. Alongside are the credits: Jacket by Charles of the Strand, underpants by Josh of Mayfair.. you get the picture.

The fact that Bernie has pulled the plug without warning seems to indicate that he agreed with Balfe.

Though we're sorry for the employees who appear to have lost their jobs, this was a venture that was never going to work, not with Mr E - who, no disrespect, knows everything about F1 but nothing about publishing - continually interfering.
 
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