Many team bosses reportedly left the Melbourne paddock angry late on Sunday, amid claims Ferrari and Red Bull have agreed special deals for F1’s future beyond the current Concorde Agreement.
Rumours of the top teams’ deal – part of a reportedly planned $10 billion stock market floatation of the sport – began to swirl following the publication and then retraction of a Sky News internet report. The report was reportedly based on a leaked copy of the draft 2013 Concorde Agreement, which according to London’s Telegraph newspaper “could hand Ferrari a direct stake in the sport”.
Red Bull, the reigning champions, “also stand to make a huge sum”, the report claimed, adding that the energy drink-owned team as well as Ferrari will be asked to nominate directors for F1’s holding company board. Team boss Christian Horner revealed Red Bull is “in discussions with FOM” about a new Concorde Agreement, adding that talks are “progressing reasonably well”.
How the other major teams – like FOTA members McLaren and Mercedes – fit into the picture is unclear at present, but the Times newspaper reports that there are “no seats” at the boardroom table allocated for them.
An unnamed senior team executive described the rumoured special deals for Ferrari and Red Bull as “outrageous” and “against every facet of European competition law”.
Ferrari declined to comment.
Horner added: “We want one (a Concorde Agreement) which reaches into the future … a floatation is really down to the shareholders. It is not really the teams’ business. It is more of a question for Bernie (Ecclestone) or CVC.”
Many paddock insiders, however, believe the deals are already done in principle, leading one angry rival team boss to blast: “Formula One stopped being about racing a long time ago.”
“There will be an end game to this,” he added. “We just have to figure out what it is and what it means for the people in the teams who want to go racing and not be involved in this kind of thing.”