Discussions are currently taking place in Formula 1 with the 10 teams to put in place a new set of trade agreements to replace the current Concorde Agreements, which expire at the end of the year. Liberty Media pushes for a more balanced redistribution of income in order to make the discipline more equitable and to ensure the future of the structures which participate in it, while promoting a tightening of the hierarchy.
A number of teams have already confirmed that they are ready to sign these agreements, particularly from Ferrari and McLaren. A deadline has been set for August 12 by F1 for the ratification of the Concorde Agreements. On the contrary, Mercedes manager Toto Wolff says the automaker is not ready to sign what has been offered and has expressed frustration with the treatment being given to the brand.
“We at Mercedes have made it clear that we are happy that there is a more equitable distribution of income. The way success is rewarded and [qu’il soit] possible for everyone, we agree with that. “
“We are, I would say, the biggest casualty in terms of lost revenue in all of this. Ferrari has maintained an advantageous position. With Red Bull that obviously balances out with AlphaTauri. So we are the ones who are most affected. . “
“I think Mercedes has contributed to the discipline over the last few years. Not only have we been competitive on the track, but we have the driver who clearly has the most appeal globally.”
“We feel that by participating in these negotiations we have not been treated the way we should have been treated. So there are a lot of issues that remain open for us legally, commercially and sporting. From our point of view, I don’t feel ready to sign the Concorde Agreements. “
Formula 1 did not really taste this exit and responded immediately, by way of a press release: “Formula 1 has engaged with all the teams in a collaborative and constructive manner and listened to all their perspectives. This agreement is important for the future of sport and for all our supporters. We are moving forward and not will not be delayed any longer. “
In view of the deadline set, Mercedes therefore has five days to try to influence the discussions and make a decision. When asked how far away the deal was from the team’s positions, Wolff replied that this “depends on the other party”. Then the Austrian added: “If you’re willing to sit on the table, bring up the critical issues, discuss it, maybe come to a compromise, then I think it can go pretty quickly. I haven’t seen that approach. “
Mercedes not recognized at its fair value?
While Wolff did not expand on the issues Mercedes displease, several key business and governance aspects are seen to be at the heart of the matter.
In particular, he feels that Mercedes was not treated as well as the other teams in the way the discussions were conducted, especially considering the recent successes of the structure in terms of titles and the investment that ‘she does in this sport as an engine supplier.
An important factor to take into account is how Ferrari managed to negotiate to maintain its veto over F1 rules and to retain an additional bonus due to its historic importance to the sport. While Mercedes recognizes Ferrari’s status and importance for the championship and is therefore not opposed to this special treatment as such, the star brand also believes that it has its own value which does not have been recognized during negotiations.
It is also understood that there are sticking points regarding the new governance structure which is expected from next year. F1 aims to get rid of the need for unanimity for short-term rule changes, which could leave a single team powerless to prevent an alliance from voting to make rule changes.
With Luke Smith