New commercial contract for FIA, F1 teams imminent

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By JEROME PUGMIRE, Associated Press

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — A new contract between motor sport's governing body, Formula One teams and F1's commercial rights holder about the terms of racing looks set to be soon implemented.

F1 is currently racing in the absence of a Concorde Agreement — which sets the framework upon which F1 teams participate in the championship and share in its commercial success — following months of discussions between the organizations.

But FIA and the Formula One Group said in a joint statement Saturday that they have agreed on the basis of a new deal.

"This agreement will come into force upon approval by the respective governing bodies of the signatory parties in the coming weeks," the statement read. "Further information on this agreement will be available after receipt of such approval."

For the new deal to go through, a commitment is needed from all teams, Bernie Ecclestone's Formula One Group and FIA president Jean Todt.

Ecclestone has agreements in place with 10 of the 11 teams about the new commercial terms, with Marussia the odd one out. Meanwhile, Todt has been pushing for FIA to receive a greater share of F1's profits.

"I'm happy, it's good. We're with the FIA and that's it," Ecclestone said. "It's for seven years and what it does is give a little more input from the teams we've been fighting for, concerning regulations. So they can't complain.

"To get this deal done there have obviously been lots of things we've had to sort out. It's longer term and this forms most of the Concorde Agreement for the teams as well, so now we can get the whole lot put to bed."

Todt and Ecclestone have also had to contend with other issues.

Todt is hoping to be elected for a second term at FIA's presidential elections later this year. While Ecclestone has been charged by German prosecutors with bribery over a $44 million payment, placing his future in doubt.

The 82-year-old British billionaire has been under investigation since a German banker was convicted of receiving the payment from Ecclestone in connection with the sale of a stake in F1.

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