New Concorde deal announced for Formula One
Formula One motor racing secured its future on Friday with the agreement of two men whose own individual futures are the subject of intense debate and speculation.india Updated: Sep 27, 2013 20:19 IST
Formula One motor racing secured its future on Friday with the agreement of two men whose own individual futures are the subject of intense debate and speculation.
Both Frenchman Jean Todt and Briton Bernie Ecclestone may not be in office when the latest "Concorde Agreement", supported by them, ends in seven years' time - a situation that brings the sport's long-term future into clear focus.
Todt is the president of the sport's ruling body, the International Motoring Federation (FIA), and Ecclestone is the chief of the commercial rights holding organisation and heads Formula One Management (FOM).
Between them, they have great influence over the shape, operation and future of Formula One - but question marks hang over them.
Todt faces a challenge for his post in the FIA presidential elections in December from Briton David Ward while Ecclestone, at 82, has long been expected to announce his retirement following more than 40 years in Formula One.
In essence, this all means that the latest binding agreement - for seven years - between the sport's ruling body and commercial operation could be their last - and that F1 has that period of time in which to create a new structure and a secure transfer of power.
News of the long-awaited confirmation of the new Concorde Agreement came in a statement on the FIA website.
It said, in typical fashion, that both the FIA and F1 commercial boss Ecclestone's FOM organisation had given their "approval" to the agreement.
It now remains for F1's 11 teams to add their signatures for the agreement, which sets out the commercial terms of F1, to be operational.
The sport is understood to turn over more than 1.3 billion dollars annually, but the details are shrouded in secrecy as they have been since the original agreement in 1981 - named after the Place de la Concorde in Paris - ended a long-running battle for control of television rights in the 1970s.
In Friday's latest version of the sport's key contract, which lays down all the arrangements for the sport's enormous commercial activity, including all television and media activity, it is believed that the FIA will be given a bigger slice of the revenue than it has in the past.
In their statement, the FIA said: "This agreement provides the FIA with significantly improved financial means to pursue its regulatory missions and to reflect the enhanced role undertaken by the FIA in the Motor Sport.
"The parties have agreed a strong and stable sporting governance framework which includes the Formula 1 Group, the FIA and the participating teams.
"The agreement lays down solid foundations for the further development of the FIA Formula 1 World Championship."
Ecclestone said merely that he was "pleased" that the agreement had been concluded. It is likely to be his last as the ring-master of the sports' business.
The last agreement lapsed at the end of 2012 and the current F1 season has been run without one.
Todt, who is expected to retain his presidency in December and so emerge as a key figure in the re-building of F1 for the post-Ecclestone era, added: "We can be proud of this agreement, which establishes a more effective framework for the governance of the FIA Formula 1 World Championship.
"The FIA looks forward to continuing to fulfil its historic role as the guarantor of both regulation and safety in F1 for many years to come."
For Ecclestone, who spent many years in dialogue and sometimes conflict with men like Italian Enzo Ferrari, Briton Colin Chapman, Frenchman Jean-Marie Balestre and Briton Max Mosley, it could be a final act before he plans his withdrawal.