Formula 1, FIA sign Concorde Agreement

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The Formula 1 Group and the FIA have finally signed the long-overdue Concorde Agreement meaning that they are just one step away from an official tripartite agreement binding the teams, the regulatory body and the commercial rights holders to a financial and regulatory series called Formula 1. What grand times, what good news…what’s the FIA’s new cash infusion going to be used for?

FIA president Jean Todt said:

“The agreement reached by the FIA and the Formula 1 Group in July 2013, setting out the framework for implementation of the Concorde Agreement for the period 2013 – 2020, has now come into force, following the approval of the respective governing bodies of the signatory parties,” a statement on the governing body’s website read.

“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 One World Championship.

“Now that the agreement is operative, the parties will move towards the conclusion of a multi-party Concorde agreement.”

Apparently the teams have yet to sign on to the agreement and one wonders just how “significantly improved” those financial means are for the FIA? FIA presidential challenger, David Ward, is wondering the same thing as Sky Sports F1 points out:

“The question now is what will the new resources from Concorde be used for? The answer should be for investment in ‘grass roots’ development of motor sport,” the statement read.

“In my manifesto I have proposed to ‘use all the revenue in excess of regulatory costs of the F1 Championship for investment in motor sport safety, sustainability, solidarity funding of ASN development programmes, and for training of officials and volunteers’.

“Jean Todt has yet to publish a manifesto or explain how he will use the new funds now available to the FIA. Sooner rather than later this should be made clear to the FIA membership.”

As the FIA’s major revenue generator, one would think Formula 1 would get special attention but Ward feels grass roots motor sport should be the key. Grass roots motor sport is important but World Rally and the newly formed WEC could use some help as well. Then again Ward knows that in order to win the presidential election, you have to cater to far-flung car clubs in Botswana and many of those “–Stan” countries in what was once the former eastern bloc.

F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone has said for some time now that he has a commercial deal with the teams so time will tell if the details of those agreements are included in the Concorde Agreement and if the teams will all become signatory to the document.

The Concorde Agreement also has a lot of language about the participation requirements in F1, the compensation for teams, the FI and the commercial rights holders. It is clear that the teams and the FIA were all keen to get a larger piece of the pie and one can assume that has happened based upon Todt’s statement.

As for Ecclestone himself, the typically understated 82-year-old boss of F1 said:

“I am very pleased that the agreement between the FIA and the Formula 1 Group has been concluded”.

It’s one less thing on Ecclestone’s plate as he also must continue his defense against bribe allegations in Germany. The speculation of what the majority owner of F1’s commercial right, CVC Capital, would do should Ecclestone retire or find himself incarcerated in Germany has been an ongoing debate but having a solid Concorde Agreement in place that governs the next several years will make the very notion of finding a replacement for an indispensable man remotely possible.

The document will go into effect when the FIA and Formula 1 Group get all 11 teams to sign and Ecclestone’s bi-lateral agreements with 10 of the 11 teams will help that process. Marussia is the only team to not have a bi-lateral agreement with Ecclestone. The issue for Marussia, as the last-place team, is that the commercial revenue distribution to the teams ends at 10th place leaving Marussia nothing for their efforts apart from what they can raise themselves…which, according to rumors, isn’t a lot.

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