Many people are expecting white smoke today with the signature of the new Concorde Agreement, which will being stability to Formula 1 after months of wrangling.
But it will not be today. What is scheduled for today is a meeting of the financial directors of the FOTA teams plus those of Williams, Force India and the three new teams.
This meeting in Geneva is set to finalise financial details of the cost reduction mechanism. As for the Concorde Agreement, the various parties are edging closer to signature.
Both team representatives and FIA representatives say that there are no negotiating points still outstanding, no potential deal breakers, but there are still detailed wordings to be finalised.
From the teams side, they would like to think that the new Concorde will be signed by the end of this week. However procedurally the FIA has to run the final version through the World Council for approval and although they will not meet, it will take a few days once the final draft is written to get it approved. A target of early next week seems realistic.
So it looks like there is no stumbling block to getting it sorted before the next Grand Prix in Budapest next week. Everyone hopefully can raise a glass of champagne in the Budapest paddock and celebrate a sport that looked into the abyss but then brought itself back to sanity.
Once the deal is signed it will be interesting to see which major figures stay on in the sport. Today, FIA president Max Mosley has confirmed he will not stand for re-election when his term ends in October. Mosley had hinted last month that he may stand again, even though, according to the teams, the peace deal voted through last month by the FIA World Council, was based on Mosley’s pledge to not seek re-election in October. However, in a letter to FIA members this morning, Mosley reconfirmed his decision to step down and also endorsed former Ferrari team boss Jean Todt as his successor.
Donald MacKenzie, one of the main players in CVC, the finance company behind Bernie Ecclestone told the Times on Sunday that as far as he is concerned Ecclestone would remain the chief executive of F1, despite the furore over his Hitler comments. CVC and the teams have been working closely together in recent weeks and there is a mood in some team quarters for a change of faces at the top, for the sport to turn a new page. Ecclestone says he has no intention of being moved aside however.
However advertising guru Sir Martin Sorrell, another prime mover behind CVC’s involvement in the commercial side of the sport, has cast some doubt on Ecclestone’s position. He told the Mail today that Ecclestone’s comments were ‘disgusting’. “I am appalled by what he said about Hitler,” said Sorrell. “His comments were disgusting. He issued a full apology after taking advice. Any other CEO in any other business would be gone.”
Paddock rumour continues to question the long term involvement in the sport of Toyota. Rival team principals say that Toyota management continue to look them in the eye and give assurances that they will stay to 2012 at least, but doubts still remain. Many were puzzled by Toyota’s decision not to host the Japanese GP at Fuji any longer, despite the net cost to them being probably less than $10m.