Silence – Is it golden or the eye of the storm?

July 2, 2009

Following a flurry of press releases and claims last week, the most notable thing about the current situation in F1 is how quiet things appear to be. So is the silence due to droves of lawyers and accountants working out the small print on a peace accord? Or is it because new fault lines are appearing in the apparent FIA/FOCA entente and battle will shortly recommence?

The general consensus appears to be that the prospect of a breakaway series will not be fully resolved until the elections of the FIA President in October 2009. At this point it will be clear as to whether Max Mosley will stand again and if he does not who the potential contenders will be. It is a matter for the FIA as to who their next President will be, however statements made by FOTA Vice Chair – John Howett of Toyota, that FOTA would like to see someone who is independent from F1, both currently and historically, puts an interesting spin on things. It suggests that FOTA would not be keen to see someone like Jean Todt or Ron Dennis in the post, although it has to be rather unlikely that if either of these two former Team Principals were elected FOTA would go ahead with a breakaway series.

Formula One Group's Bernie Ecclestone will be central to reaching a commerical agreement for F1

Formula One Group's Bernie Ecclestone will be central to reaching a commerical agreement for F1

However, probably the real reason for the silence is the more pressing issue of the signing of a commercial agreement between the teams and the Commercial Rights Holder (Formula One Group represented by Bernie Ecclestone). This will be based on the previous Concorde Agreement and is essentially about how the media revenues received by Formula One Group will be distributed to the teams – it’s all about the money. This is particularly important for the new entrants who need to be gearing up to getting two cars on the grid for 2010. At the FOTA press conference of 25 June 2009, Flavio Briatore stated ‘we are very close for an agreement on the commercial side, there are a few issues, but I hope in a few days we have an agreement for F1’. Let’s hope these ‘few days’ don’t drag on till October!

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