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Monday, June 16, 2008

Ecclestone hints breakaway still on the table

Bernie Ecclestone said the lack of a new Concorde Agreement and unease with FIA President Max Mosley could lead to a breakaway series.

While Ecclestone had previously played down the threat of teams forming their own championship, he told the Times that without the Concorde Agreement binding the teams, Formula One Management and the FIA together, the teams are free agents and “can do what they like.”

The Formula One ringmaster, who recently sent a letter to the FIA’s member clubs downplaying the possibility of a split, said the teams have been uncomfortable by their lack of power and influence without the Concorde Agreement.

“What the FIA doesn’t have, which is the most important thing for them, is an agreement with the teams which they would have with a Concorde Agreement,” Ecclestone said. “The teams can do what they like. At the moment what we are trying to do, to keep sponsors happy, is say we can’t break away, but it could well be that that will happen. There is no agreement between the teams and the FIA. There is a commercial agreement that has been signed by the teams and FOM [Ecclestone’s company], so the teams can do what they like.”

The Concorde Agreement has governed the sport for over 25 years. Ecclestone has been pushing for a new agreement, but Mosley has been resisting it.

In a letter last month, Mosley wrote:

"A new Concorde Agreement would give the Formula One teams a greater say in the rule-making process, including various rights of veto. Because of its influence over the teams (which comes mainly from its ability to offer favours in and around the paddock), the CRH sees a Concorde Agreement as another way to exercise control over the sport. Again, however, I do not believe we should concede. The sport and the commercial interests should be kept separate. The teams and the CRH should be consulted and listened to at all stages, but it must be the FIA, not the CRH or the teams, which decides the regulations. My refusal to concede on this has led to a difficult situation and compounds the problems with the CRH over the 100 year agreement."
In the absence of a Concorde Agreement, there are no checks on Mosley’s power. Mosley has also disbanded the F1 Commission, which in the past determined the F1 rules approved by the FIA World Council.

A "difficult situation" for all. Don't miss the top stories of the day, subscribe to the SpeedRead Web newspaper now! -- Email SpeedRead -- Learn more about author C.D. Six

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