Formula 1 teams have won an important concession over the future governance of the sport ahead of next week's meeting with the FIA and Bernie Ecclestone.
FIA president Jean Todt and F1 commercial manager Bernie Ecclestone are to meet the teams in Paris on Oct. 23 to try and make progress in nailing down a new Concorde Agreement. Sources have revealed that the FIA and Ecclestone have backed away from plans to limit an influence over the rule making process to just the six top teams, which had been singled out as an important issue.
AUTOSPORT revealed last month that seven teams had written to Todt voicing their worries about possible changes to the way the sport is run. Other concerns – which cannot be addressed prior to the meeting – included a dramatic hike in entry fees, and a demand that the FIA gets tougher in controlling costs.
The teams had written: "The teams ... accept there may be the need to review the composition and operation of an F1 Commission, but do not wish to diminish the authority of the teams in such a forum.
"In relation to the structure of the revamped Formula 1 Commission from 2013 onward, the teams are concerned over the proposed composition, with a reduction from 12 teams to only six. Retaining the status quo is the preferred option."
Ecclestone had originally been keen to revise the F1 Commission to an 18-man body, made up of six team representatives, six FIA members and six members from Formula One Management. The presence of just six teams – which were going to be Ferrari, Red Bull, McLaren, Mercedes, Williams and Lotus – meant that other squads would effectively be left with no say in how rules were proposed to the FIA.
Amid concern about the situation from several quarters, however, the future governance structure is to be revised. A current more streamlined version of the F1 Commission – which will include representatives of all the teams – will remain in place as the final body to approve or reject rule changes before they are submitted to the FIA.
The 18-man body of team/FIA/FOM members will now become a "steering committee" that will work on long-term strategic decisions for the sport and act as the first point of debate for rule changes or improvements to the sport. It will be tasked with mandating the FIA to consult teams directly on specific matters and will then vote on how best to implement regulation changes. Once it has approved matters, these will then be submitted to the F1 Commission, which will only have the power to approve or reject rules that are proposed to it. It will not be able to amend them.
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said that despite strong feelings about entry fees and cost control, the rule-making process in F1 was the key agenda to finalize at the Oct. 23 meeting.
"The most important thing for the long term is obviously governance," he said. "How regulations are created; the process that regulations are created, which then obviously have an impact on cost. I think that is a critical factor moving forward."