autosport.com - the Daily Grapevine: F1: Teams' boycott threat averted
Teams' boycott threat averted
By Jonathan Noble Tuesday, March 24th 2009, 08:29 GMT
Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has revealed that Renault and McLaren threatened to boycott the season-opening Australian Grand Prix in a row over money.
According to a report in The Times, McLaren chairman Ron Dennis and Renault team chief Flavio Briatore vowed not to send their cars to Melbourne if Ecclestone did not pay outstanding money allegedly owed to the teams.
The threat came as the two team representatives, along with Toyota F1 president John Howett, met with Ecclestone last week to discuss the framing of a new Concorde Agreement.
Speaking to The Times, Ecclestone said: "Flavio said, 'we're not going to put our cars on the plane, we're not going to Melbourne. He - Flavio - started it, aided and abetted by Ron Dennis."
Ecclestone countered the threat made by Briatore and Dennis by phoning up his freight organisers saying he wanted to cancel shipment of the cars.
"I picked up the phone to our people that handle all the freight to ask them to cancel the aeroplanes," continued Ecclestone. "They were saying, 'all the Fota-schmota are not going - nobody's going to go.'
"So I said what I'd better do is cancel the aircraft obviously. It costs a fortune to charter those things and almost as much to cancel them."
In the end McLaren and Renault's cars were shipped to Melbourne, and it is not thought Ecclestone paid the outstanding money.
He added: "If they come in here with a gun and hold it to my head, they had better be sure they can f***ing pull the trigger. And they should make sure it's got bullets in it because, if they miss, they better look out."