Friends of ex-Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone have indicated that the 88-year-old billionaire is happy to return to work with race promoters in an attempt to solve their problems with the new owners of F1, a disagreement that was aired in a day-long meeting in London on Tuesday.
Sportsmail revealed discontent among the Formula One Promoters’ Association, which represents 16 of the race hosts, about the direction of F1 and the fees they are charged to hold races.
It is understood that Chase Carey, F1’s chief executive, addressed the comments head on at the start of the gathering in the Royal Automobile Club in Pall Mall.
A couple of observers said the American was quite emotional as he urged the disgruntled parties to keep their concerns private and assured them that he was happy to work towards resolutions. Another promoter said he looked ‘wounded’.
Several promoters issued a statement expanding on the criticism Silverstone boss Stuart Pringle outlined in Tuesday’s paper.
The statement said: ‘It is not in the long term interest of the sport that fans lose free access to broadcasting. There is a lack of clarity on new initiatives and a lack of engagement with promoters on their implementation.
‘New races should not be introduced to the detriment of existing events.’
Ecclestone, F1’s chairman emeritus, said: ‘If people say I should be involved that is up to them. I am an employ of the company and will do what I am told. If they want me to help, I am willing to do so. I don’t want to lie on my deathbed and see the sport I created go downhill.’
Pringle, who is negotiating a deal to keep F1 at Silverstone beyond this year, said: ‘We are optimistic there is now a basis for discussion.’