F1 grid unites to approve 'milestone' deal on road to brighter future

By: AFP      Published: 09:16 PM, 19 Aug, 2020
F1 grid unites to approve 'milestone' deal on road to brighter future

Formula One announced Wednesday that all 10 teams on the grid had finally agreed to a crucial five-year commercial deal from 2021 which guarantees the motorsport's "sustainable" future and is designed to usher in a new era of closer and more unpredictable racing.

"The FIA (F1's governing body) and Formula 1 can today confirm that all 10 teams have agreed to the new Concorde Agreement," a statement confirmed.

"The agreement will secure the long-term sustainable future for Formula 1," it noted, and will help usher in the top item in any F1 fans' wishlist - better action on the track.

"All our fans want to see closer racing, wheel to wheel action and every team having a chance to get on the podium," said F1 boss Chase Carey.

"The new Concorde agreement, in conjunction with the regulations for 2022, will put in place the foundations to make this a reality and create an environment that is both financially fairer and closes the gaps between teams on the race track."

The first team to publically declare they had committed to Concorde was McLaren who in a tweet suggested: "This is the right deal at the right time for the sport, its owners, its teams and, most of all, the fans."

Another famous F1 outfit Williams are pinning their hopes on the deal to help revive their fortunes.

"The Agreement is a major milestone in the development of Formula One, and also represents a significant opportunity for Williams to continue on our journey back towards the front of the grid," said deputy team principal Claire Williams. 

Ferrari, the only team to have contested every season since F1's launch in 1950, said the result of the grid's rare show of unity would be "stability and growth" for the sport.

FIA president Jean Todt said that in a time of "unprecedented global challenges" from the coronavirus pandemic he was proud of how the sport's stakeholders had worked together.

Mercedes u-turn 

Wednesday's announcement did not look remotely close earlier this month when world champions Mercedes said they weren't prepared to sign.

It got the green light only after the German constructor executed a u-turn, announcing they were on board after changing their minds at last weekend's Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona.

Team chief Toto Wolff explained they had accepted that it was impossible for the teams to be united – and so a pragmatic and singular approach would be best.

"Everybody tries to achieve some little deals outside. There's a blame culture in the media so we've decided to move forward with Liberty," Wolff said.

Eventual concord and the sport's safe return under strict COVID-19 health protocols were testament to the whole sport, the F1 statement acknowledged. 

"Closer racing will attract more fans to the sport, benefitting every team, and continuing to increase the global growth of Formula 1," it added.

Carey said sealing the deal set the scene to "work together to ensure F1 is even more spectacular and attractive for the hundreds of millions of fans from around the world who love this sport."

The agreement is named after the Place de la Concorde in Paris where the first deal between the teams, the sport and its ruling body was completed in 1981.