Mercedes has rejected F1’s latest Concorde Agreement ahead of a looming August 12 deadline, the manufacturer feeling it was mistreated during the covenant’s negotiations.
The all-important new agreement which binds teams commercially and financially to the sport and which is set to come into force from 2021, has been given a thumbs up by several teams, including Ferrari and McLaren.
F1 has set an August 12 deadline, or next Wednesday, for all teams to put pen to paper but a frustrated Mercedes remains at odds with several items contained in the document.
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“We from Mercedes, we made very clear that we are happy with a more equitable split of the prize fund. The way success is rewarded and possible for everybody, we agree to,” explained Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff, the manufacturer’s representative at the table.
“We are, I would say, the biggest victim in terms of prize fund loss in all of that. Ferrari has maintained an advantageous position. With Red Bull, it obviously balances out with AlphaTauri. So it’s us that are hurt the most.
“I feel that Mercedes has contributed to the sport over the last years. We have apart from being competitive on-track, we have the driver that has clearly the most global appeal.
“We feel that whilst being in those negotiations, we weren’t treated in the way we should have been.
“Therefore there is a bunch of open topics for us that are legal, commercial, and sporting. In our point of view, I don’t feel ready to sign a Concorde Agreement.”
In response to Wolff’s grievances, Formula 1 issued a statement in which it expressed its inflexibility towards delaying the Concorde Agreement’s finalization.
“Formula 1 has engaged with all teams in a collaborative and constructive way and listened to all their views,” the statement reads.
“This agreement is important for the future of the sport and all our fans. We are moving forward with this and will not be delayed any longer.”
As Mercedes played hard ball with F1, Wolff alluded to a fast settlement of the two parties’ differences, if F1 gives in to compromise.
“If you are willing to sit on the table, address the critical topics, discuss them, come to maybe compromise outcome, then I think it can go pretty fast. I haven’t seen that approach,” said a determined Wolff.
Wolff refused to elaborate on the key provisions that he would like to see changed or tweaked, but it is believed that Ferrari retaining its historical bonus while Mercedes’ own contributions are being undervalued is one crux of the matter.
But there are also several finer points to which Mercedes has voiced an opposition, mainly regarding governance and how rules are voted.
Ferrari’s Mattia Binotto said the Italian outfit was committed to the agreement and hoped that Mercedes will be a signatory of the crucial document come next Wednesday.
“I hope obviously they will sign. I think it will be great to have Mercedes with us next year on the followings,” said Binotto.
“We are the only ones who have been there since the very start of Formula 1, 70 years. So it’s true as well that some teams sometimes are there and cannot be there.
“I think Ferrari will be there, as always it has been part of the history. We’ll be there in the future, we are fully committed, and we will certainly sign.”
McLaren’s Zak Brown hinted at a couple of adjustments that were in the works but said that “all the fundamentals are there”.
“We are ready to sign, we’ll be ready to hit the August 12th deadline,” said Brown.
“Some very small dotting the Is, crossing the Ts, but all the fundamentals are there. I’m really excited for the future of Formula 1.
“I think the new Concorde Agreement, it’s going to bring a much healthier sport, more competitive sport, and the biggest winners are going to be the fans.”
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