SEPTEMBER 9, 1996
Our spies tell us that the teams have agreed to fall into line because the prize money is being increased and the question of what happens in F1 after Ecclestone has been laid out in more detail.
The teams have had to compromise as well and we expect there to be 17 three-day races next year - the current 16 with Austria added. In addition there will be a four-day test at some point in mid-February outside Europe. We expect that this will be organized at Kyalami in South Africa and is probably the first step towards having a South African GP again in 1998 - an 18th race.
The Maranello meeting agreed that under the new agreement - which comes into effect on January 1, 1997 - teams will only be allowed to do 50km shakedown tests in the week before a Grand Prix.
Other modifications to the agreement include a restriction of 16 tires in qualifying - rather than the 12 which had been proposed; the instigation of a secret ballot of signatories to decide whether or not other teams can become signatories and details of entry dates for non-signatories (between November 1 and November 15 with a decision guaranteed by the FIA before December 1).
These are all minor details, but the most significant changes come in a restructuring of the FIA F1 Commission - which runs the sport. In the past the Commission has had 13 members. This has been increased to 14 to give the "Commercial Rights Holder" a vote on the commission. The current Commercial Rights Holder is Bernie Ecclestone. Also on the commission are the FIA President; four promoters (elected by the promoters), two sponsors (nominated by the teams) and six team representatives: the five best placed in the previous year's World Championship plus the team which has competed longest (Ferrari). The Commercial Rights Holder also becomes a signatory to the Concorde Agreement.