Deal close on Concorde Agreement

THE Formula 1 teams and F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone are close to concluding a deal which will enable the flotation of Formula 1 Holdings (FOH) to go ahead in March - probably to coincide with the start of next year's series. Everyone concerned has been working hard to get a deal in place before November 15, when entries close for the 1998 FIA Formula 1 World Championship.

We understand that a deal has been struck so that teams will be given 10% of the shares in FOH but these will be held in trust, which means that they will have the right to income from the shares but will not be able to sell them. If teams are willing to commit to F1 for the next 10 years they will be allowed to have shareholder status. Ecclestone is satisfied that this will prevent teams selling their shares immediately after the flotation. The teams will also get some representation on the FOH board, the seat rotating annually between the teams.

"All the commercial aspects of the deal have been resolved with the teams," Ecclestone said. "They have stopped squeezing my balls and are now at each others. They are not idiots. They will tidy things up between them."

As soon as the new Concorde Agreement is signed and approval for the flotation has been given by the European Commission, the shares will be offered through the consortium of banks involved in the sale.

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