OCTOBER 23, 2012
Progress made in 2013 Concorde talks?
A statement from the FIA claims that an 'important step' was made towards securing F1's future in a meeting between the governing body, commercial rights holder Bernie Ecclestone and the F1 teams in Paris, and talks of a final settlement "in the coming weeks."
The splitting of F1's commercial 'pie' from its estimated $1.5-2.0bn annual revenues is a recurring bone of contention every time the Concorde Agreement -- the document by which the sport is governed - comes up for renewal.
The sports' authorities are currently trying to finalise a new document that will take F1 through to 2020 but, as usual, matters of governance and financial recompense have given rise to a number of sticking points. Matters such as representation on F1's rule-making committees, entry fees and cost control are all under discussion.
Late last week, former FIA president Max Mosley, who some would claim did the governing body a disservice by leasing F1's commercial rights to Ecclestone for more than 100 years, called for his successor Jean Todt to be more "confrontational."
Todt, meanwhile, responded in an interview with the Financial Times: "I'm not a dictator trying to control. The contribution and role of the FIA has to be protected, respected."
Initially, dating from the first Concorde Agreement in the early eighties, F1's commercial rights were leased for four to five year periods and then renewed but as Ecclestone's vision grew F1 hugely, there became discontent at the amount of money going out of the sport.
Todt said that while the FIA is a non-profit making organisation, it still needed to cover the cost of aministering the sport and running its other operations, such as its road safety campaigns.
The FIA statement reported 'fruitful and helpful debate' on how the F1 structure would operate in 2013 and beyond with 'a further important step achieved to secure the future of the F1 World Championship... which should lead to a final settlement in the coming weeks.'
More details will doubtless emerge as the F1 paddock reconvenes in India later this week.