Edging Closer to an Agreement

July 17, 2009

The fog appears to be lifting and a resolution emerging that may secure the future of F1, at least until 2012. Max Mosley has reiterated his intention to stand down at the end of October and more significantly has come out in support of Jean Todt, former CEO of Ferrari, replacing him. Although FOTA have made noises about the need for an independent chairman (ie with no history in a current F1 team) the real power base in FOTA is Ferrari and they would be far more positive about Todt’s appointment than some of the other teams. Former World Rally Champion Ari Vatanen has also indicated his intention to stand, whether Mosley’s support for Todt means Ron Dennis may emerge as an alternative contender remains to be seen. Although Todt is well regarded at Ferrari it would be a mistake to regard him as partisan should he become President of FIA, Todt’s track record suggests that whatever role he has taken on, he has done so with total commitment and dedication to his new organisation and I see no reason why this should be different should he become President of the FIA, the problem is more likely to be one of perception from the other teams.

 The other matter which needs resolution is the signing of the commercial agreement, which Flavio Briatore had hoped was a matter of a few days back on 25 June (see blog 2 July). As it now involves 13 teams (including the three new entrants) this is more complex, but progress is apparently being made and the hope is that this will be concluded by the Hungarian Grand Prix on 26 July (clearly a few days for Flavio equals one month for the rest of us). The other interesting question is the future of Bernie Ecclestone whose recent comments regarding Adolf Hitler has led to some strong feedback from the majority shareholder in Formula One Group – CVC Capital, with fellow Director Sir Martin Sorrell being particularly forthright. While Max’s departure may (I emphasise may) now be inevitable, the likelihood of Bernie stepping down is a different matter altogether.

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