Formula One’s 12 teams have struck an agreement to secure the future of the sport until 2020, Bernie Ecclestone has exclusively told CNN.
The F1 CEO revealed a new eight-year deal that will bind all 12 constructors in the elite division of motorsport beyond the current “Concorde Agreement” that expires at the end of this season.
The contract outlines the terms by which teams compete in Formula One and how the lucrative prize money and television revenues on offer are divided.
Progress on the deal has been complicated by F1’s planned public offering on the Singapore stock market that could yield around $3 billion.
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In March the majority of the teams had agreed in principle to tie themselves to an extension of the Concorde Agreement that was most recently signed in 2009, but doubts remained over Mercedes.
The German constructor, who have seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher in their ranks, were reported to be considering quitting the sport but during an interview in Monaco, Ecclestone said an agreement had been reached.
“Well we’ve just got people now, all the current teams, to sign up until 2020 and then I hope another 10 years after that and then forever. Everybody has agreed with it,” he told CNN World Sport anchor Amanda Davies.
“You’ll have to wait to see if Mercedes have but I’m confident everything with Mercedes will be fine,” Ecclestone added.
When asked if his concerns about Mercedes pulling out of the sport had gone he replied: “Absolutely.”
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The Concorde Agreement is between Formula One’s governing body, the FIA, the sport’s rights holders and the Formula One Teams Association (FOTA).
High-profile teams Red Bull, for whom double world champion Sebastian Vettel drives, and iconic constructor Ferrari have recently withdrawn from FOTA, adding complications to the negotiation process.
Mercedes were said to be seeking clarification of their part in F1’s future plans, insisting on a more prominent role than offered having been a part of the sport since the 1950s.
The iconic Silver Arrow version of the Mercedes led the team to back-to-back championships in the 1950s and immortalized the car in motorsport’s history.
And they were said to be threatening to withdraw from the sport altogether but Ecclestone’s revelation signals a breakthrough in discussions and an end in sight to a saga that had threatened to rumble on through the current season.
“I appreciate and support Mercedes probably more than anyone in F1,” said Ecclestone. “But the way it was done was on results and we couldn’t falsify the results because if we did other people would complain.”
Ecclestone also suggested that reports of Formula One listing on the Singapore Stock Exchange might be premature.
“The market doesn’t look too bright after that little bit of a problem with Facebook,” said Ecclestone, referring to the social networking website’s recent public offering. “So I think they are going to wait and see.”
Ecclestone: Formula One teams agree to race until 2020