JULY 16, 2001

Manufacturers seek alliance with F1 teams

THE automobile manufacturers involved in Formula 1 appear to have given up with the idea of trying to convince the world that there is the potential for a rival series to the FIA Formula 1 World Championship and at the weekend Jurgen Hubbert, the boss of Mercedes-Benz, appeared at a meeting of F1 team bosses to say that the carmakers want to work with the teams to negotiate a new Concorde Agreement. Hubbert said that his views were shared by all the other manufacturers, even hardline Fiat and Renault.

Hubbert said that everyone should work together to negotiate a deal with F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone and his partner Leo Kirch. The two men control SLEC, the company which holds the commercial rights to the Formula 1 World Championship. At the moment SLEC takes 53% of the money generated from the sale of TV rights but the figure of overall income is probably more like 70% as SLEC gets all of the money paid by race promoters who want the right to stage F1 races. The teams and car manufacturers think this is unfair and we hear that they want SLEC to accept a deal worth around 25% for a period of 25 years. This would give F1 immediate stability and all the team owners who are thinking of floating their teams would be in a position to do so. In addition Kirch and Ecclestone would also be able to float a portion of SLEC.

The current Concorde Agreement runs until the end of 2007 but this can be cancelled if all the signatories agree that it would be a good idea. The FIA would also have to agree to the change as it is a signatory to the deal.