JANUARY 12, 2008
So what happened at the meeting?
The F1 teams met with FIA President Max Mosley in Paris yesterday to hear details of proposals put forward for cost-cutting in F1. Mosley had suggested a raft of dramatic restrictions including the concept of curbing windtunnel and CFD usage. The meeting appears to have been remarkably harmonious with the controversial proposals being carefully avoided and the discussion concentrating on the question of budget-capping and the kind of homologation for certain parts that would be acceptable to all concerned.
The one point on which everyone is in agreement is that costs do need to be cut and with this in mind there will now be a period of lobbying and discussion before proposals are put together. Without unanimous agreement of all the teams it is too late to make changes to the rules at such short notice. This is laid down in the FIA regulations rather than in the Concorde Agreement.
The question of the governance of the sport remains in discussion as the 1997-2007 Concorde Agreement has now ended. However, claims that the FIA and FOM are not bound to any new agreement need to be considered in the light of an FIA press announcement in January 2005 which stated that: "Further to discussions regarding the long term development of the FIA Formula 1 World Championship, the FIA, Formula One Management and Ferrari have agreed to prolong the Concorde Agreement for the period 2008 to 2012". At the time FIA President Max Mosley was quoted as saying that "the agreement is significant because it will ensure the future development of the FIA™s most important championship." Thus it seems that the Concorde Agreement does still exist and the discussions are really about what revisions should be made. The financial agreements between the various teams and Formula One Management are also, it seems, based on the premise that the basis of the Concorde Agreement will remain unchanged.
There is also a paper trail in relation to the Formula 1 Commission, which has been defunct since 2005. According to an FIA press release in May 2006 there is a new commission which must now be included in the decision-making process. The composition of this body is different to before and will be made up of "six representatives from the competing teams, five representatives from the race promoters, one representative from the commercial rights holder and one representative from the FIA". The teams picked at the time were Red Bull Racing, Mild Seven Renault, BMW Sauber, Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro, Honda Racing F1 and WilliamsF1. McLaren and Toyota were not given representation on the basis that the choice was made along national lines. It is not clear whether Red Bull Racing now competes with an Austrian licence but it ought to do so if it wants to be on the commission. The promoters involved are Australia, Brazil, Hungary, Monaco and Spain.