FIA Friday press conference - Great Britain 19 Jun 2009
Reproduced with kind permission of the FIA
Team principals: Ross Brawn (Brawn GP), Christian Horner (Red Bull), Adam Parr (Williams), Martin Whitmarsh (McLaren).
Q: Just one question from me. What is your position regarding the current situation in Formula One? Christian, can I start with you please.
Christian Horner: Right. It has obviously been a busy 24 hours but I think it obviously dates back well beyond that. We have effectively reached a position of stalemate between FOTA and the FIA. I think a huge amount of effort has been made by the teams to try and find a compromise because at the end of the day we do have a duty of care to the people that we sit here and represent, the employees, to the fans, to the sponsors and to the public. The intention and effort was to try and find a compromise, a solution. As I say we find ourselves in a position of stalemate and the decisions that were made that resulted in the press release that you all saw this morning werent taken lightly and after a lot of deliberation that was the position that collectively the teams arrived at. Whilst it was a difficult decision to make I think unfortunately we have found ourselves in a situation that the conditions of the entries that we looked to put in have been effectively rejected and I think the teams reached the stage where they felt they could go no further. Therefore, as I say, we have effectively reached a stalemate and we are faced with the situation where we either stop or we look at something else. Certainly from a Red Bull perspective we want to race against the best teams, against the best drivers, with the best sponsors in the world. If that cannot be Formula One then we will have to consider what the alternative is but being ever the optimist I think we have gone as far as we can. We have reached this position and that is where we are today. Situations can change but that is certainly where we are.
Ross Brawn: Well, I think after the shock of Honda leaving Formula One there was a lot of concern that we reacted in a correct way and we started with the correct initiatives or intensified those initiatives as in fairness there were a lot of initiatives already started by the teams I think with general support from the FIA. The engine manufacturers within FOTA had introduced the eight million Euro engine and next year it is five million Euros, so for my team that is a godsend. There were a lot of initiatives already underway and perhaps with the economic environment there was a need to review those initiatives and see if we could intensify them but in a structured way and a balance needed to be kept because there were many reasons whey Honda left Formula One but it was not only an economic argument. There was a strategic argument as well and the reaction needed to be the correct reaction. In our view it did not need to be as dramatic as occurred and that is really where the differences of opinion have come in the dramatic reaction the FIA felt was necessary in the circumstances to protect Formula One. I think the balance between the opinion of the teams and the FIA has been different and it has been difficult to reconcile those differences and in trying to reconcile those differences the relationships have suffered. At the present time there is a very difficult relationship between the teams whose, I think, genuine ambition is not to take over Formula One but the teams have a massive investment in Formula One and they want their investment respected. Formula One doesnt belong to the teams. I dont believe it belongs to Formula One. It belongs to the people. Formula One belongs to all of us. It is not something which is owned by anybody. It is like the Olympic Games, the World Cup. It is an entity in itself. It needs respecting and nurturing and it needs to be developed. Really the teams do not share the same opinion as the FIA in the way that it needs to be developed and we have ended up with a situation where some teams have now entered Formula One with a different set of regulations to what the other teams wish to race under, with in fairness a proposal from the FIA to change those regulations again but no guarantee that those regulations can change. They have to be changed with the consent of the teams that are already in Formula One, so we are saying come and join us and we will change the rules again but what guarantees do we have. It is a very difficult situation. We want to find solutions but if we cant find solutions we will have to find another championship to race in.
Martin Whitmarsh: I think Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, which is the team I represent, wants to race at the pinnacle of motorsport. It wants to race with all of the teams that are represented here, including Adam. We want to race with all the big names, the stars, the history and the heritage of this sport. Clearly the pressures that exist within the sport were in danger of really dividing most of those names between two camps. I think last night it was clear that the majority of us wanted to be together. We wanted to be at the pinnacle of motorsport. We want transparent governance. We want one tier of regulations and perhaps a philosophical difference as to the future of the sport. I think there have been tremendous efforts from many people to try and find compromise, to find a way forward but time pressures were placed on the teams and under those pressures we had to make a decision. A decision had to be made today and the teams within FOTA have come together. We have had clearly two teams that have slightly different positions from the majority but the majority of teams have worked together incredibly well. Since FOTA was formed in September, the first time that all of the teams in the sport have come together in the history of Formula One, we have worked to try and bring down the costs. There is no doubt that the initiatives that came from FOTA have been the most significant in the history of the sport. We have got certain teams here today that wouldnt be here but for FOTA. We have put forward a structure to further reduce costs. Everyone wants to reduce costs. There is no doubt that costs were running away in Formula One. FOTAs position isnt that we dont want to save money. Plainly we do. We have put forward proposals and mechanisms by which all of the teams believed that was possible and had already made that progress but ultimately we are very close in many things and that is perhaps the sad thing. If you look at FOTAs position and you look at the position of the FIA there are a lot of areas where there are very many common views and yet ultimately perhaps because of relationships or whatever we were unable to come together. A deadline was placed upon the teams and consequently we had to make a decision and in fairness to the FIA we had to come forward with our view on that. To take a positive view the teams are working together I think in a most productive way certainly in the 20 years I have been involved in the sport. We look forward to racing with as many teams as we can next year.
Adam Parr: Williams is a Formula One team.
Q: Is that all you are saying.
AP: Thats all there is to say.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Ian Parkes Press Association) To one or all three of the FOTA members. You will be aware probably that within the last half an hour the FIA have issued legal proceedings against all eight FOTA teams. I just wondered if I could get your thoughts on that first of all. And just beyond that how much has that further damaged the credibility of the sport?
RB: I think it is quite difficult for us. We have not seen the details of what has happened. I dont want to avoid the question but it is quite difficult for us to answer as we heard just as we were coming into the press conference that that had happened. I think we need to understand what has happened but unfortunately I dont think any of this episode of what is going on at the moment in the short term helps the sport. We all know that. It is just perhaps with a vision of better things that we are prepared to go through it.
MW: I think it is important that we do not get drawn here. We are at an FIA grand prix and we should respect the fact that a press conference is given here and therefore as Ross said, one we dont know the facts and two, I think it isnt the most appropriate format to comment on. I think certainly Formula One squabbling amongst itself is not a positive message. I think we have got to get to try and get to a point where we are concentrating on what happens out there on the tarmac and I think we should avoid getting into an examination of the correspondence that may be going backwards and forwards between FOTA and the FIA.
CH: I completely agree with Ross and Martin. I can only sympathise with the public who must be, as Formula One fans, confused and to a certain degree dismayed with what is currently going on. We have got a wonderful championship this year. It is Silverstones last Formula One grand prix and to have politics that are difficult for the general public to comprehend and understand and Formula One should be all about what happens on the track. I think it has taken up far too much of not only our time but other peoples time. We have reached the situation we are in. I think it is impossible for us to comment. I havent seen what has been provided by the FIA. I think it is a great shame and certainly from our perspective we have got a race to run this weekend. We are determined to try and stop Jenson Button winning yet another race. That is where our focus now immediately turns to and thats for every member of our team. We owe that to the fans, to the public and to Silverstone at what is an important weekend.
Q: (Alan Baldwin Reuters) Adam, on a commercial level how important is it for you as a team to be racing against Ferrari and McLaren? How hard is it going to be for you to go to sponsors and say we want your money but we are racing against Campos, US F1 and Manor?
AP: Well, I think that it is going to be very difficult to raise sponsorship revenues in the future but it has always been difficult in the past. I think one of the reasons why we are doing what we are doing, which is trying to reduce costs in Formula One, is because nobody can sustain the spending that we have had in the past few years. It is simply ridiculous and we have to stop it. Therefore we have supported both as a member of FOTA and now outside the measures that people want to take to reduce costs. That is essential. I dont think that this situation is good in our discussions with sponsors but I am hoping it will be resolved and I am hoping that nobody really intends to create a breakaway series as I dont think it is going to be good for anybody if that happens.
Q: (Lee McKenzie BBC) To the FOTA members. Your proposed championship. Will eight teams be enough to sustain a championship or will you be welcoming invites from other teams, perhaps the likes of Lola and Prodrive?
MW: I think that certainly eight teams would be enough but we would welcome any new teams or existing teams for that matter. Certainly there has been an expression of interest from some of the names you just mentioned and I think a lot of the teams want to be racing against the Ferraris, Red Bulls, the Brawns and hopefully ourselves. Formula One has not done a good job in my view at developing the number of teams that compete and in developing a series which is focussed on what the fans want and I think there is a lot of opportunity to do a better job and to have some fresh energy. Whilst inevitably there is some sadness in a day like today I think you have got to be optimistic about the future. I think sometimes out of these changes, out of these challenges, are new eras, new opportunities and we have got to be positive. But clearly we have had already in the last few hours quite a lot of interest from some other teams that want to be part of this series and we are going to do everything we can to encourage them to be part of it. I think just as FOTA has already demonstrated its assistance to retaining teams and assisting the independent teams I think that has got to be part of the ethos of any new organisation.
Q: (Geoff Sweet The Sun) Were Max Mosley not the President or if he were to be removed fairly soon could this problem go away virtually overnight?
RB: In no way is it a condition of the conditional entry that the FOTA teams have made that that is the case. It is not something we are pushing for or asking for. It has not entered the discussions. We have had a breakdown in relations and we need to find a way of getting back to a balance between the regulatory body and the competing teams.
CH: I would endorse totally what Ross says. At no point has there ever been a condition from FOTA of anything along those lines. We have actively tried to engage with the FIA over the past few weeks to constructively find a solution. Mr Mosley represents the whole of the FIA, so this is not pointed personally at any individual.
Q: (Mike Doodson) This statement from the FIA seems extremely provocative to me. Are any of you aware of any developments that could prejudice the running of this race meeting this weekend or the remaining races in the championship?
MW: No and I think as we said earlier we have not actually seen any detail at the moment. We heard on the way here and I cant personally imagine anything that is going to prejudice this weekend and the rest of this season. Certainly that is not the intention, I am sure, of any of the teams represented here or any other teams within FOTA. I think we owe it to the public and the fans to put on as good a show as we can here this weekend and that is what we are going to be concentrating on doing. There is a great championship. Unfortunately we are not participating as closely in it as I would like but the two gentlemen behind are involved in I think an interesting championship and we on the lower steps here have to make sure that we try and drag ourselves as close to that as we can.
RB: Can I just say I hope something does prejudice this weekend as they are too quick. I think we are going to have trouble this weekend.
Q: (Mark Fogarty Auto Action) By any measure this is an unseemly mess. Shouldnt you all be ashamed of yourselves for allowing it to get to this situation and to become such a shambles? It is the future of Formula One on the line. It is not something that should be taken lightly.
MW: Rightly or wrongly I can only speak for myself. I dont feel ashamed of the situation. The teams I think have the right values. We are looking to the future of the sport, to seek, to build and develop it for the fans and everyone who is involved with it. We are looking to create stability. I think anyone who has looked on Formula One in recent years there has not been the stability that we should have. There hasnt been the clarity of what the championship should be for the fans. That is not pointing the finger at anyone. We have all been part of it. Some of us feel that we have got to do a better job than we have done in the past. Can anyone up here say that they have not made a mistake. Clearly lots of mistakes have been made in the evolution and development of Formula One but I think we have taken a positive step to say that we are committed to race together. We were heading whatever happened, it seemed in the last few days, towards a split. It could have been some of those teams currently in FOTA disappearing from the sport completely. I think anyone who has been watching and listening would have been very aware that a number of major manufacturers were almost inextricably leaving the sport and I think that would have been highly damaging. I think we are inviting all those that participate at the moment and any new entrant to participate in what we believe will be the pinnacle of motorsport.
: Again, I fully endorse what Martin says. I think whats been achieved in the short space of time that FOTA has existed is significant. I think the cost savings that weve seen this year have been driven by FOTA and certainly, as an independent team, we have seen the benefits of the lowest-ever engine prices, probably in the last 25 years in Formula One, in budget reductions, probably for all teams, anywhere in the region of 15 and 25 percent, with proposals on the table to reduce budgets by probably up to 40 percent going forward. Each team has had difficult decisions to make and I, in particular, would just like to pay credit to Ross Brawn and the decision and the commitment that hes shown to FOTA because hes stuck to and believed in his principles in a situation, as an independent team, and I think thats absolutely commendable at difficult times. They have no other form of income other than going grand prix racing. Red Bull are involved in other categories, McLaren have other initiatives within their group and I think that the unity that the teams have shown, the way that theyve worked together and Ferrari have also been a huge player within this and I think that what has been achieved is significant and its a great shame that weve reached this stalemate because I think progress was being made, albeit, lumpily and positions have obviously hardened recently and we find ourselves in this situation. I certainly think theres nothing to be ashamed of.
RB: Thank you Christian for your kind comments. Ive not been an independent for very long but Ive seen both sides of the coin, and Ive seen life at Ferrari, I saw life prior to that at Benetton where we won the World Championship on a total of £30m a year and Ive seen life at Honda and Ive seen life as an independent and the key to all of this is finely balanced between the needs of all the groups, all the teams in Formula One. Weve got to have systems so that the smaller independent teams can survive with support from the manufacturers where need be and other initiatives. But if we have systems that shut out the manufacturers completely, I think its to the detriment of the sport. The manufacturers bring a huge amount into this industry, they bring a huge amount of investment, they bring a huge amount of employment, people, so manufacturers bring in an awful lot to Formula One and weve got to be careful not to destroy that and not to shut that out completely. It cant be left unharnessed, we all know that but the door shouldnt shut completely on the input that manufacturers make. Its the investment of Mercedes-Benz that gives me an eight million Euro engine, five million Euros next year. Its the investment of Toyota thats giving Adam an engine at a price that is incredible. Leasing a Ferrari engine a couple of years ago was 25m Euros. We survive because of the manufacturers. They absorb the research costs, they absorb the development costs and they give us an engine not a subsidy but an engine that is provided on a cost-plus basis and they are not taking any profits out of it, theyre just doing it as a service to independent teams. So we have to find that balance between what Formula One can offer for manufacturers and what it can offer for independents. We cant go too far in shutting out the manufacturers because it will be to the detriment of the sport.
AP: Theres a lot of what Martin, Ross and Christian are saying that I whole-heartedly agree with. We recognise what the manufacturers have brought to Formula One: tremendous status, as Frank says, fantastic, reliable engines and in many cases theyve been very good friends to this team over decades. So its awfully difficult to find ourselves on the other side of the fence. To some extent, we are I wont say bystanders because that would be disingenuous but I would say that we have contracts in place with Bernie and weve always said with Max as well and we enter the championship in light of those contracts. Im impressed that Ross, as an independent team next year, lets say, that actually has to raise money in the way that we do, feels that he has the ability to do that in another championship but we simply could not. Theres no way that we could walk away from our contracts and raise the sort of money that we would need to compete with the manufacturers, the Red Bulls and so forth. So we have a mutual dependence with the FIA and with FOM that is enshrined in contracts that we will honour. But its very, very sad for us that in so doing weve drifted away from people that we like and we respect and we like racing against. The question is: is it a disgrace that we are sitting here in this situation? I dont know what we could have done differently than what weve done. Weve tried to be at all times open, transparent, honest about our positions. Nobody can say that they didnt know what we were going to do or when we did it and its very, very difficult for us and very sad. I think that the moment when we were asked to leave the room in the FOTA meeting a few weeks back was absolutely dreadful and something we will always remember with great sadness but I dont know what we could have done differently. Lets just be clear of one thing: we are the only team in Formula One this year that will raise money without asking its shareholders for one penny. The only team in Formula One. Im not saying that others dont depend on sponsorship because they do but every other team in Formula One raises a significant proportion of their budget from their shareholder or shareholders. We cant do that. When I look at the future, the past few years that weve been through in Williams are just not sustainable, it cannot continue like that for us. Anyway, we are where we are. Weve made some tough choices, weve lost friends as a result of that perhaps but I dont think we could have done anything differently. We take no pleasure in it but thats the facts.
Q: (Joe Saward Grand Prix Special) This is for the FOTA teams: do we have any preparations that have been made for any new series or are you going into it from nothing? Specifically I would like to know about the Monaco Grand Prix.
MW: As I think people know here, it was a decision made late last night and I think therefore to talk about preparations ten hours later or whatever it is now would be premature. There have been lots of ideas, suggestions that have been thrown at the teams but the fact is that theres a lot of work ahead of us and thats a challenge. There are tinges of excitement and concern in it because doing any new venture is just that. But theres been a lot of interest and a lot of support thats been voiced for the teams. Were open to any way forward but I think in the coming weeks and months well naturally be better equipped to answer those questions.
Q: (Livio Oricchio O Estado de Sao Paulo) Next Wednesday we will have the World Council meeting in Paris. Do you think there is a better forum to discuss what is best for Formula One next year, where a group of people make decisions on behalf of the FIA instead of an individual?
RB: I think there has been a system for trying to make these decisions, through the F1 Commission, through the teams but unfortunately that system seems to have disappeared or certainly not been used for a long time. There are systems which I think have been established that could be used for this purpose, so I dont think we necessarily need to invent anything new. The difficulty now is that decisions have been made and how do we reverse out of those decisions? We should learn from whats happened, to try and avoid getting ourselves into this situation in the future but there was a system under the old Concorde that wasnt perfect but it meant that the teams were involved in all the key decisions and that seems to have disappeared. I dont think theres a need to invent a new system, just refine what was there before.
Q: (Marco Evangelisti Corriere dello Sport) To the three FOTA members: is there any possibility that you look for any further confrontations with Max Mosley even behind the supposed line of today?
CH: I think the position that we reached yesterday, after a huge amount of deliberation, weve felt that significant compromises had been offered and been made and I keep referring to this effective stalemate where we reached a position where the teams felt they could go no more. The FIA obviously made their position known and clearly felt and so effectively we end up in a situation where you have some very difficult decisions to make and the collective and unanimous feeling within that group was that we could go no further, therefore the position, as it was stated late last night, early this morning was one that was arrived at collectively, after a great deal of discussion and debate but it was one that was unanimously reached by each member of FOTA.
Q: (Miran Alisic Pop TV) For all of you: could you just maybe clarify the last sentence from this last press release from the FIA and your position on it? What is the real reason behind this, that publication of the final 2010 entry list will be put on hold?
MW: I think all three of us and probably Adam as well were told of the FIA press release on the way here. Its probably in any case, even if wed studied it in great depth and had time, its not for us to interpret the meaning of that. I suggest thats got to be something that the FIA would clarify for you if you need that clarification. We understand that the entry list was going to be published today. We had to make a decision last night. We made our decisions last night but any further comment on that is up to the FIA to clarify.
Q: (Michael Schmidt Auto Motor und Sport) At the beginning of the year there was a long dispute over the double diffuser and it concerned the members of the FOTA family. How will you deal with problems like this in the future?
MW: I think that in truth the double diffuser argument as it was characterised was a strong test of FOTA and a lot of emotions and thats good. Formula One is meant to do those sorts of things and going racing and having competition. But I think the fact is that FOTA survived the tensions that arose from that. Weve all got opinions, whether its right, wrong, should have been allowed, shouldnt have been allowed but I think everyone accepted that all the teams acted in good faith and I think its something that could and should have been clarified earlier but out of it came, I think, the realisation that the teams ultimately have a lot of common interest. I think anyone whos involved in motor racing and Formula One in particular, within the teams it takes over your life, you dont do it unless youre very passionate about it. Were very fortunate, all of us here, to be involved in this sport and I think we realised that all the teams have a common interest to sit amongst the teams with Ferrari, McLaren, on the same side of the table, realising that actually our goals are very similar, our approach to the sport is very similar. Theres a developing camaraderie within FOTA which is certainly unique in my experience. I think probably Ross is one here who has been here slightly longer than me but in twenty years its unprecedented. I think the manufacturer teams and some of the bigger teams made big compromises, I think, big efforts to reach out to the independent teams to assist during the first phases of FOTA, as a consequence of which the independent teams involved in FOTA see... and Ross talked about a compromise necessary. Inevitably when youve got a Toyota involved in Formula One and youve got a Toro Rosso at the other end, finding a compromise between those companies at either end of quite a large spectrum is quite a big challenge and unless theres goodwill and co-operation you wont find that accommodation and I think its been fantastic whats been achieved within FOTA. I think its going from strength to strength. I think people last night knew the scale of the decisions that were being taken and I think people came out of it feeling incredibly positive about whats been achieved and with a real belief that we can, by working together, we can make the sport greater and better than its ever been.
RB: I think this issue of finding compromise between the teams I accept Michaels point it was a pretty fraught period and if this proceeds we have to have a regulatory body that sits and covers those things impartially for the teams. But I think FOTA has been and I have been there a very long time it has been a great initiative. It was never set up to be a challenge to any of the authorities within Formula One or the commercial rights holder. It was set up for the teams to try and work together to present solutions which they had all agreed on. If I give you one small example: wind tunnel usage. There are completely different ends of the spectrum in terms of peoples wind tunnel facilities. Youve got Toyota with two wind tunnels running flat out 24 hours a day, seven days a week and they made a concession to reduce the hours they run in the wind tunnel to sixty hours total, thats sixty hours total for all their wind tunnels in order to compromise with the smaller teams who didnt have the budget to run two wind tunnels full time, 24 hours, seven days a week. So thats one example where compromise has been found, between the FOTA teams, where the large groups have accepted compromise in the interest of the smaller groups. Now, as a smaller group, I cant ask Toyota to come down completely to my level but I know that theres a smaller difference there between what we can afford to do in the wind tunnel and what they can afford to do. So there has been incredible movement within FOTA. I mentioned the cost of engines; these are all FOTA initiatives, theyre all things that the teams themselves have worked together to . The testing agreement is a totally voluntary agreement between the teams. It wasnt an initiative started by the FIA, it was an initiative started by the teams. We all agreed to it and to my knowledge nobody has ever breached the testing agreement, and thats purely voluntary. So it is possible for the teams to see the way forward and act honourably and sensibly in these things. At one end there is a diffuser argument, at the other end there are the teams sitting down and really working hard to find solutions amongst themselves.
Q: (Tony Dodgins Tony Dodgins Associates) There seems to have been quite a few concessions offered by the FIA at the last debate. What actually stopped a compromise being reached? I notice they are still going to run the Cosworths with the higher rev limit. Was that the stumbling block or is it the fact that you couldnt sign up to something without any guarantees?
CH: I think the fundamental issue is the concept of entering a championship without regulations fully sorted, without the governance issues that have been raised and discussed and agreed to be debated, without those being dealt with in advance. Its impossible to enter something and say well sort it out after youve entered. I think the position was, it has to be sorted, clear, concise, for every member to enter the championship, rather than entering something with goodwill but no clarity, no guarantees, open to debate with other members we dont even know who they are at the moment. Therefore, I think thats very much the position that we found ourselves in, that without that clarity, without those concrete compromises, solutions in place, I think it was an untenable position for the teams.
MW: What was important, I think, to FOTA, was that we had the ten original teams all stating a willingness to enter into a new Concorde Agreement and to compete until at least 2012 and that was an achievement that was brought about by the cost-saving initiatives of FOTA. I think we couldnt reach a point where all the FOTA members were prepared to dive into a championship without certainty in terms of the Concorde Agreement, in terms of the governance, in terms of the regulations. I think there was a strong feeling that we want to try and stay together, we want to be inclusive, we want to keep as many involved as we could have done. I think any of the teams here had the choice and the opportunity, Im sure, at various times to break away and to sign up but I think we knew that in doing that, we would be irreparably fracturing the group that currently competes in Formula One and I think that would be very, very damaging. So the view at the end was that we want to race against all the big names that are involved in Formula One today and the path that weve chose at the moment represents the best chance of us achieving that.
RB: One of the dilemmas that the teams have, touching on what Christian mentioned, is that the rules are published, five teams have entered under those rules including Adams team and the rules, as they stand today, are that next year theres a £40m budget cap. You can have a movable rear wing, you can have four wheel drive, you can have double strength KERS, you have any number of things. Now in fairness, Max has said that he will correct those, he will put those back to how they should be and well operate under one set of rules but by definition, were asking for governance which would mean that the governance needs those teams to agree to those rule changes, otherwise its not governance, so how do we get those teams to agree to those rule changes if the governance, by definition, means that they have to agree to it. I dont know what Adams position is, he might quite happily say here that he will agree to all of them but there are five teams involved and there are no guarantees. Max, quite genuinely, may believe that he can swing it but weve got to enter the championship on the assumption that those things will be corrected and sorted and I dont know how its done, maybe inducements that are made to the teams to give them support in some way because obviously theyre going to struggle in Formula One but weve got ourselves into this sort of vicious loop. Some teams are more relaxed about finding a solution to that than others but collectively, as a group, it was very difficult for FOTA to accept that.
AP: Because Ross has almost asked the question I would like it to make it very clear that Williams would do anything that met with the approval of the FIA and the FOTA teams that could result in a solution. We will never prevent or be party to anything that would prevent that from happening. I have to say, having heard what the three guys have said, that it seems to be that the situation is not intractable because what each of them is talking about are process issues: how do you know what the rules are, how do you get governance sorted out, how do you have guarantees about what youre entering into? I have to say that having not really spoken to many people for a while, I find it quite encouraging actually. I hope that everybody out there who has an ability to help find a solution is listening carefully because I think whats being said is that it is possible to find a solution. Certainly Williams will play any part we can in making that happen.