26 May 2012
New Concorde details revealed
The latest version of F1's Concorde Agreement looks set to be a case of 'give and take' for the teams.
Details emerging about the newest Concorde Agreement suggest that while the teams can expect to receive the biggest one-off payment ever offered, they will also have to accept less palatable conditions in order to benefit.
F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone claimed on Friday that he now had all twelve teams on board following some initial opposition to the terms and incentives being offered by the revised agreement and, while there is some doubt as to whether Mercedes and the three smallest teams are completely happy with their lot, is confident that that will allow him to press forward with plans for the development of the sport.
According to Britain's Guardian newspaper, the teams will share a one-off pay-out approaching £115m for signing up to the new deal, which ties them to the sport for another seven years after the cessation of the current Concorde Agreement at the end of 2012. Under the existing arrangement, the teams share 47.5 per cent of F1's profits, with Ferrari getting an additional 2.5 per cent under a special arrangement based on its loyalty and importance to the sport and other 'extras' bringing the figure closer to 59 per cent, but that figure is set to rise to somewhere around 63 per cent under the proposed terms for 2013-20.
The report also reveals that, while the sport's prize fund will stay at 47.5 per cent, the top three teams from the past three years - essentially Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari - will get an additional 7.5 per cent, which will come to a minimum of $100m, with Maranello benefiting from an additional five per cent due its historic status. Ecclestone puts the general increase at 'around $70m'.
In exchange for their windfall, however, the teams will be required to remain in the sport until the end of the new agreement in 2020, with the only get out available if their prize money fund falls substantially. Ferrari again has special conditions, and can only quit F1 if there is a change of control and profits drop by 25 per cent over the following two years.
The new deal, meanwhile, is also understood to give Ecclestone free rein to add further races to the schedule, over and above the maximum 20 currently agreed with the teams, which he expects to leads to a 22 or 23-race calendar in coming years. That, in turn, would bring more money into the sport's coffers, via hosting fees and both advertising and television rights.
The Mercedes situation remains unclear, however, with the German giant initially reluctant to commit to a new deal after feeling that it had been snubbed in comparison to the likes of Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari when it came to incentives and rewards for its involvement. Looking to receive recognition for its long-standing relationship with grand prix racing, which stretches back to the 1950s, as well as its commitment to supplying customer engines, it has even considered legal action under EU competition law, but Ecclestone is hopeful that the Three Pointed Star - as well as the three smallest teams, which feel that they have been short-changed due to their lack of history - would eventually come around.
"I don't see any problem," he told Reuters, "I'm a realist."
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