Rumours of special Concorde deals for Ferrari and RBR
Reports over the Australian Grand Prix weekend suggest Ferrari and Red Bull could be offered special deals under the next Concorde Agreement.
The Concorde Agreement is a tripartite contract that binds the teams, the FIA and Formula One's commercial rights holders together and dictates the split of the sport's revenues. The current contract is set to expire at the end of 2012 and the teams are in the process of negotiating new terms with Formula One's CEO Bernie Ecclestone.
A Sky News report on Saturday said Ferrari and Red Bull could be offered positions on the board of a new holding company after the sport is floated on a stock exchange in Asia. The story was later removed from the Sky News website, but caused a stir in the paddock as rumours swirled that the deal would also secure Ferrari a direct stake in the sport.
However, when team principal Stefano Domenicali was asked if Ferrari had signed a deal, Autosport reported him as saying: "No. Not at the moment."
Talking about the Concorde negotiations, Domenicali added: "I think that what I can say is that we are in discussions, and the discussions are going on in the right way. But there is no more than that at the moment."
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner also said Concorde Agreement talks are ongoing, but did not want to comment on a possible flotation of the sport or its implications for the teams.
"A flotation is really down to the shareholders," the Times quoted him as saying. "It is not really the teams' business. It is more of a question for Bernie or CVC [the sport's majority shareholders]. "
How other major teams, such as McLaren and Mercedes, fit into the flotation plans is unclear at present, but the Times reports that there are no seats for them on the board.
In 2009 the teams negotiated the terms of the current Concorde Agreement under the collective umbrella of the Formula One Teams' Association [FOTA], but when asked if the teams are better off united when negotiating with Ecclestone, Horner told ESPNF1 last week: "There are two views of thought on that. I think it's very difficult to take a fully collective position because within the group some people have different outlooks."
Red Bull and Ferrari left FOTA last year after a row over cost controls, and some reports are now connecting that decision to the rumoured deals.