Formula 1’s management has said it will not wait any longer to finalize the Concorde Agreement despite complaints from Mercedes over the way the team has been treated in negotiations.
The Concorde Agreement is a document between the teams, the FIA and Formula 1 that binds them together when it comes to the commercial terms of participating in the sport. The current agreement expires at the end of this year and talks have been ongoing for a number of months over new terms, with F1 owners Liberty Media keen to introduce a more equitable distribution model that does not favor the bigger teams as much as in the past. While the majority of teams say they are willing to sign ahead of an August 12 deadline, Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff is not happy with what is on offer.
“The Concorde Agreement is a complex topic,” Wolff said. “It obviously involves 10 teams, the FIA and FOM (Formula One Management), and we respect that everybody obviously has their point of view and their own interests at heart. We from Mercedes made clear that we are happy with a more equitable split of the prize fund, the way success is rewarded and possible for everybody we agreed to.
“We are, I would say, the biggest victim in terms of prize fund loss in all of that. Ferrari has maintained an advantageous position, for Red Bull it obviously balances out with Toro Rosso, so it’s us that are hurt the most.
“I feel that Mercedes has contributed to the sport over the last years. Apart from being competitive on track we have the driver that has clearly the most global appeal, and we feel that while being in those negotiations we weren’t treated in the way we should have been. Therefore there is a bunch of open topics for us that are legal, commercial and sporting, and in our point of view I don’t feel ready to sign a Concorde Agreement.”
Wolff says whether Mercedes reaches an agreement before the deadline will be determined by whether F1 is willing to discuss the issues his team is unhappy with over the coming five days.
“That depends on the other side. If you are willing to sit at the table, address the critical topics, discuss them, come to maybe a compromised outcome then I think it can go pretty fast. But I haven’t seen that approach.”
However, in response to Wolff’s comments, a Formula 1 spokesperson told RACER there is no room for further negotiations.
“Formula 1 has engaged with all teams in a collaborative and constructive way and listened to all their views,” the spokesperson said. “This agreement is important for the future of the sport and all our fans. We are moving forward with this and will not be delayed any longer.”
Ferrari, McLaren and Williams all said they are ready to sign the new agreement on Friday despite referencing specific legal items that are still to be covered, while Renault and Alfa Romeo suggested there are small details they want to be addressed ahead of Wednesday’s deadline.