Will Concorde land this weekend?

July 24, 2009

As I write this there is still no indication as to whether or not the teams, the F1 commercial rights holder and the FIA have found agreement over the terms for the renewed Concorde Agreement (so called as the original was signed at the FIA headquarters in the Place de la Concorde in Paris). It may happen today, but if we leave Hungary without an agreement that will create even greater challenges for all involved, particularly the three new teams who are planning to enter F1 in 2010.

The most recent Concorde Agreement was signed by the three parties in 1997 and formally expired in 2007, much of the dispute between the teams association (FOTA) the regulatory body (FIA) and the commercial rights holder (Formula One Group, represented by Bernie Ecclestone) has been about the nature and terms of the new agreement which the teams are prepared to sign up to until 2012, although FOG would like this to be until 2014. The agreement is the basis on which F1 operates. This covers the financial basis by which the media revenues are redistributed to the teams (using a highly complex formula relating to present and previous performance), but it also clarifies the processes by which regulation changes are made and the basis by which disputes are resolved. One interesting area which has been raised by FOTA is the race calendar, historically something which Ecclestone has managed on a unilateral basis. There has been some disquiet amongst the teams and their sponsors that one of their biggest markets – North America and Canada have had their races removed, while Formula One Group searches to obtain increasingly unrealistic fees from race organisers primarily in the Middle East and Asia. They would like more say in deciding which races take place.

With the issue of the FIA presidency apparently resolved this is (for the time being) the final piece of the jigsaw to take things forward until 2012.

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