Leading Formula 1 teams are optimistic that talks to frame a new Concorde Agreement with Bernie Ecclestone are progressing in the right way, amid talk that some competitors could even take a shareholding in the sport.
A story that broke on the UK Sky News website, which was subsequently removed, suggested that Ferrari and Red Bull were on the verge of agreeing favorable financial terms with Ecclestone, which could hand Ferrari shares in the sport, plus both teams a seat on the F1 board. Neither team was willing to speak openly about the situation, but both said that talks were heading toward a successful resolution.
Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali said: "I think that what I can say is that we are in discussions, and the discussions are going on in the right way. But there is no more than that at the moment."
When asked about suggestions Ferrari may even have signed a deal, Domenicali said: "No. Not at the moment."
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said about his own squad's position: "We are in discussion about a future Concorde Agreement. We want to have a Concorde Agreement that reaches into the future and we are in discussion with FOM at the moment. Talks have been progressing reasonably well, so we will see."
Horner said that any decision by F1's owners CVC to make offer public shares in the sport on the stock exchange was not down to the teams.
"IPO (initial public offering) is really down to the current shareholders," he said. "It is not really the team's business. It is down to the current shareholders, so that is more of a question for Bernie and CVC."
But news that Ferrari and Red Bull could get more favorable terms in the future prompted questions about whether or not rival teams would feel they were still competing on a level playing field.
McLaren declined to elaborate on the situation, with a team spokesperson telling AUTOSPORT: "McLaren and indeed others are in useful dialogue with the Commercial Rights Holder, and do not want to jeopardize those discussions by further comment."
Lotus team principal Eric Boullier said: "On paper you always want more money and it is a tricky decision about what to do. I don't want to talk about it."
Ecclestone did not travel to the Australian Grand Prix, but he told the UK's The Daily Telegraph in an interview before the weekend that he was eager to get Concorde discussions resolved before the start of the campaign, adding: "I don't want it dragging on."