APRIL 11, 2003
"Signing up" with the GPWC
These days there is a lot of propaganda in Formula 1 circles. The aim is to create impressions that those involved want to see in the public domain.
The GPWC announcement that all the F1 teams have signed "a memorandum of understanding" sounds impressive and it was duly reported by those with no need to go into too much detail as being an announcement that all the F1 teams have signed up with the GPWC.
It is not that simple.
The teams have signed an agreement that they want more money than the current income being generated for them in F1 and they want stability. There are not many things that Formula 1 teams will agree upon (even in principle) but getting more money from the sport and trying to keep the whole business stable are concepts which are not going to be opposed by anyone.
Ron Dennis says that teams currently get 23% of the F1 revenues and it is quite easy to accept that figure when one considers the kind of money being raised from trackside advertising, race fees, VIP hospitality and official supplier programmes. It is understandable in the circumstances that the teams should want a bigger share.
The devil, of course, is in the detail. Bernie Ecclestone argues that he makes the deals and so should make the money. He says that the teams agreed to the current Concorde Agreement. He has a point.
Everyone knows that a split in Formula 1 in the future would be completely disastrous but finding a solution is still a long way away. Everyone wants a solution but finding one that is acceptable to so many diverse forces is an entirely different matter.
Thus one should be careful not to read too much into the GPWC statement and the fact that the GPWC now intends to go to FIA President Max Mosley and to Bernie Ecclestone to "update them on the details" is an indication that negotiation is still the name of the game.
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