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FIA, F1 teams ready to sign Concorde Agreement this week?
23 July 2009
Following months of conflict and dispute bordering on outright civil war, the FIA and F1's teams seem to at last be ready to put their disagreements behind them and unite for the signing of a new commercial rights-governing Concorde Agreement this week – as the drivers acknowledge that the stand-off has endured for far too long.
It is understood that hopes are high for a final resolution ahead of this weekend's Hungarian Grand Prix in Budapest, before the paddock's members head off on their four-week mid-summer break. The signing of a Concorde Agreement would definitively head off the threat of a Formula One Teams' Association (FOTA)-led 'breakaway' series, which has hung over the top flight for much of the current season.
It would also legally bind all 13 entrants and commercial rights-holder Bernie Ecclestone to the FIA until the end of 2012 – and therefore re-instate a welcome element of stability to what has become of late an increasingly fractious and divided environment.
The only remaining cause of debate is believed to be the 'Cost Regulation Document' stipulating that expenditure must be reduced to early 1990s levels within two years, and removing FIA President Max Mosley's contentious and unpopular budget cap proposal from next season's rules. All 2010 competitors – the ten present incumbents, as well as newcomers USF1, Campos and Manor – met at FOTA's Geneva headquarters last week to come to a unanimous standpoint, with reports suggesting Williams chief executive Adam Parr has been tasked with ensuring that the FOTA members reduce their budgets accordingly.
Once the Concorde Agreement is signed, it will be ratified by the FIA World Motor Sport Council (WMSC), and Mercedes-Benz Motorsport Vice-President Norbert Haug has admitted that he hopes the
will usher in a new era of 'co-operation' between the hitherto warring factions.
“We are on a very good way to achieving the set goals,” the 56-year-old told German media, adamant that the FOTA competitors are 'the core of Formula 1' rather than 'revolutionaries'. “Confrontations must only occur when there is no alternative.”
Meanwhile, two former world champions have revealed that – in common with F1's fans – they too are rapidly losing patience with the apparently endless political stalemate.
“Things seem to go up-and-down all the time,” mused Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen. “It changes every day. You lose interest reading these stories.”
“We have spent too much time talking about this,” concurred Renault star Fernando Alonso, “and it doesn't help Formula 1. Hopefully, we can talk about the sport instead.”
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