A few months ago, Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone said that the regulatory body (FIA) and the sport’s commercial rights group (F1 Group) had agreed to a deal. At first, fans thought this could be a new Concorde Agreement, which has been the formal tripartite agreement between the regulatory body, the teams and the F1 Group. As the story unfolded further, it was not the Concorde Agreement as the teams were not signatory to it.
In today’s Wall Street Journal, Christian Sylt has offered what could be a reason that there is no signed Concorde Agreement. According to Ecclestone, it isn’t needed:
“I think everyone has forgotten about it to be honest because with the agreement we currently have with this Strategy Group, we don’t really need it,” Ecclestone said.
The F1 Strategy group was formed was formed last year and consists of the teams, F1 Group and the FIA. Each group has rights over the direction of the sport from a regulatory to sporting to commercial aspect.
What appeared to be the signing of a new Concorde Agreement was, in reality, a bipartite agreement between the FI and F1 Group. The F1 Group also had agreements with each of the teams in their own bipartite agreements and with the introduction of the F1 strategy Group, apparently that is enough to keep Formula 1 running until 2020 according to Sylt’s article.
According to Ecclestone, the original Concorde Agreement was merely a peace treaty of sorts but he says things have progressed:
“It was a peace treaty when it was signed. We have moved on and the whole structure has moved on.”
Seems like something that would have been nice to know considering F1 fans have been wringing their hands over the future of F1 and with Ecclestone’s bribery case in Germany coming up, the future of F1 has been on the top of everyone’s mind.
The F1 Strategy group seems to be an intriguing concoction and it is not completely understood exactly how this group operates or what the exact procedures are. Regardless, it will be interesting to see how teams who are represented but overruled through a majority vote react when decisions are made that could be antithetical to their own livelihood. Without the unanimity the Concorde Agreement demanded, stress fractures would arise and toys could be thrown from the pram.