Monday, August 3, 2009

New accord could bring F1 bickering to an end

Outgoing FIA president Max Mosley stole a march on the Formula One teams on Saturday when the governing body made the official announcement of the signing of a new Concorde Agreement four days earlier than they had ideally wanted.
The news also put BMW Sauber into a desperate race to complete plans for a Brawn-style buyout before a 5 August deadline.
The tripartite deal finally heralds a period of peace in a sport that has lost many fans through political wrangling.
It was signed by the FIA, Bernie Ecclestone and CVC Capital Partners who are the holders of F1's commercial rights, and the 12 remaining teams following BMW's shock withdrawal last Wednesday, and will provide the framework by which the sport will now be run until 31 December 2012.
Under its terms, teams will receive 50 per cent of the revenues from the two main income streams, the alpha group which covers television income and income from fees charged to race promoters, and the beta group which embraces trackside advertising, race sponsorship and hospitality income from the Paddock Club. Previously, they received only 27 per cent.
Just as importantly, the new agreement sees the return of the F1 Commission, comprising team representatives, key sponsors and promoters, the FIA and CVC. This will now be the mechanism by which new regulations are introduced in a more democratic manner. A long-standing point of conflict between the teams and the FIA was the way in which Mosley imposed rules without sufficient discussion.
"Following approval by the World Motor Sport Council, late last night FIA president Max Mosley signed the 2009 Concorde Agreement, heralding a renewed period of stability for the FIA Formula 1 world championship," an FIA statement said.
"The WMSC has also approved a slightly revised set of stable sporting and technical regulations [to apply from the 2010 championship onwards], which have been agreed by the FIA and the teams and which will be published shortly.
"The new Concorde Agreement, which runs until 31 December 2012, provides for a continuation of the procedures in the 1998 Concorde Agreement, with decisions taken by working groups and commissions, upon which all teams have voting rights, before going to the [WMSC] for ratification."
The statement also referred to the steps for further cost cutting agreed by the teams in place of Mosley's controversial plan for budget caps.
Against this backdrop Peter Sauber, owner of the Sauber team which was acquired by BMW late in 2005, revealed that he and Dr Mario Theissen, BMW's team principal, are working on a rescue package which would enable his old team to stay in the game.
"I will do everything humanly possible," Sauber said at the weekend. The final decision on whether to sell the team, in which he retained a 20 per cent stake, lies with the BMW board that last week opted to quit the sport.

By David Tremayne

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