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A deal between Formula 1 impressario Bernie Ecclestone and CART President/CEO Chris Pook that would bring the U.S.-based open wheel series under F1’s sphere of influence was mooted to be in the works throughout the weekend’s CART race in Miami. Pook, who has enjoyed a business relationship with Ecclestone during his years as promoter of the Long Beach and, later, Las Vegas Formula 1 races, has never made any secret of the fact that he speaks with Ecclestone on a fairly regular basis. It is rumored the twosome may have had substantive talks very recently, during CART’s recent foray to England for the Rockingham race or during the recent U.S. Grand Prix at Indianapolis—from which Ecclestone was conspicuously absent.

The most widely discussed scenario has CART either merging with, or supplanting, Formula 3000 as the top “feeder” of drivers and/or teams into F1. This would give Ecclestone effective control of the international open-wheel scene, as well as a major foothold in North America that the two weekends per year with the Canadian and US GPs does not.

As well, it would give Ecclestone leverage in his ongoing showdown with the F1 team owners and manufacturers as he would, in effect, have a ready-made—if currently flawed—alternative to offer promoters and the racing public in the event of a schism with the existing F1 power brokers As for CART, it would gain an invaluable ally at a time when it faces a shaky present and an even more uncertain future.

“They’d better be,” said Derrick Walker while denying any knowledge of an Ecclestone/Pook marriage. “When you have Roger Penske, Tony George and Bill France all gunning for you (CART), you need some powerful help.”

Pook was typically non-committal. When it was brought to his attention that a number of F3000 and F1 personalities were on hand in Miami—including former CART champions Juan Pablo Montoya and Jacques Villeneuve and former BAR chief Craig Pollock—Pook responded by saying, “I think we probably passed the time of day and said what a nice view the place (Miami) had…. It’s not appropriate to discuss those conversations.”

if its true :eek:
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