LONDON, June 22 – Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone said he was not prepared to see the sport collapse in the face of the breakaway movement from eight F1 teams.
"I have given 35 years of my life and more to Formula One. My marriage broke up because of Formula One, so I am sure as hell not going to let things disintegrate over what is, in the end, basically nothing," he told the Times on Monday.
"If you analyse the problems, there arent any that cant be easily solved."
Ecclestone said that if the Formula One Teams Association (FOTA) went ahead with their decision to create a breakaway series, only disaster would follow.
"If that started, everybody would be suing everybody else and there would be no other series," he told the newspaper.
"There would be nothing. It would be finished — it would be a total disaster. Everyone would spend a fortune on lawyers and nothing will happen."
Ferrari, McLaren, Renault, BMW Sauber, Toyota, Brawn GP, Red Bull Racing and Toro Rosso, under the FOTA banner, said Thursday they would not sign up to next year’s world championship and would start their own series in 2010.
It was the culmination of a bitter dispute over plans by Max Mosley, president of F1’s ruling body the FIA, to introduce a voluntary 40 million pound budget cap. The FIA has now threatened legal action against the teams.
Ecclestone refused to take sides in the dispute, saying: "Its not a case of joining anybody against anybody… I know full well I have to keep Formula One on the road."
But he said any calls for Mosley to go would only likely make his old friend more determined to stand for another four-year term as president in October.
"Frankly, if this hadnt had all come about like this, I think Maxs intentions were that he wasnt going to stand again. The trouble with Max is, when he is challenged, it makes him want to stay on," Ecclestone said.
He also defended Mosley’s cost-cutting plans as part of an attempt to save the sport, and said that if the teams committed themselves to Formula One for the next five years, he might drop the plans.
"We want the teams to commit. Ive always said I dont care what they spend as long as they commit," Ecclestone said.