APRIL 6, 2005
The F1 teams meet tomorrow (without Ferrari)
The nine Formula 1 teams which have yet to agree to a new Concorde Agreement from 2008 will meet in London tomorrow to hear from their various working committees about the developing plans for a new World Championship. It is not yet clear what the outcome of this meeting will be but our sources say that probably the decision will be that the teams are not yet ready to present their technical and sporting regulations to the FIA and will therefore politely decline the invitation, citing the need for more time.
We believe that much of the discussion between the teams will focus on what roles can be played in the future by the FIA and by Formula One Management as a compromise solution to the current dispute. Compromise is obviously the best way forward. Eventually, however, the teams will reach a point at which they will have a package that they are happy to present to the FIA as what they want for the rules in 2008 and beyond. For the moment the teams are not willing to sign anything with International Sports and Entertainment AG (iSe), the promotional company which has formulated a commercial package for a new series and it will probably take some form of financial guarantee to get signatures on paper. Given that the iSe is proposing to pay around twice as much as FOM within five years of the start of a new championship, it is logical for the teams to ask for financial guarantees. This would not be easy with most promotional companies but iSe has deep-pocketed parents in Japan's Dentsu and France's Publicis, each of which own 45% of the business and stand to gain large sums of the money if the new series goes ahead.
The other issue which will be discussed is whether or not the teams are going to attend the FIA meeting to which they have been invited on April 15 to discuss the new regulations for 2008. The FIA is bound to produce new rules for 2008 by December 31 2005 but it cannot do that without going through a very clear-cut process which is laid down in the Concorde Agreement. According to our sources Clause 8 of the Concorde Agreement dictates the rule-making process. This must include technical rules which must be agreed by the Technical Working Group with 80% of the members in favour of the new rulers. The rules must them be agreed by the F1 Commission. In order to get through the F1 Commission a proposal must be supported by at least 18 of the 26 votes. Or, to put it another way, it must be opposed by fewer than eight votes. The commission consists of the team principals, Bernie Ecclestone of FOM, Max Mosley of the FIA, a representative of a tyre company, a representative of an engine company, four race promoters from Europe and four from outside Europe, plus two sponsors.
The teams have 12 votes available to them but the voting rules are complicated. However, it boils down to the fact that if six teams are in favour of something their votes are added to the extra two votes available. Thus six teams in agreement provide eight votes, seven teams in favour translates to nine votes. If seven teams are opposed to a proposal in the commission that proposal will be defeated. If six teams agree to block something the vote would be drawn although it is always possible that the tyre, engine and sponsor representatives (and perhaps even a race promoter) might support the teams.
The teams currently believe that the FIA cannot make any rules without them and as long as they stick together the FIA has to listen to their opinions. Those proposals would then go to the World Motor Sport Council but that body can only accept or reject the proposals and cannot modify them. We believe that the WMSC is also restricted to one rejection only.
If the teams do not go to Mosley's meeting, they believe there is not much that he can do about it as the FIA is bound by the terms of the Concorde Agreement. There is no doubt endless potential for legal action over the terms of Concorde but any such action is bound to drive the teams further towards their own series.
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