Ferrari's new deal wins more control for Ecclestone

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The Independent Online

Nine Formula One team principals were left stunned yesterday after Bernie Ecclestone, Max Mosley and Ferrari announced that they have agreed to prolong the Concorde Agreement from 2008 to 2012, when it expires at the end of 2007.

Nine Formula One team principals were left stunned yesterday after Bernie Ecclestone, Max Mosley and Ferrari announced that they have agreed to prolong the Concorde Agreement from 2008 to 2012, when it expires at the end of 2007.

Teams have been in favour of tearing up the sport's governing document as its clauses are too restrictive when unanimous agreement is almost impossible to achieve. Last October, nine of them agreed means of cutting costs, but their uncharacteristic accord was rendered academic when Ferrari refused to vote with them.

The latest development is yet another move in the game of chess between Ecclestone and the rival organisation Grand Prix World Championship (GPWC), which aims to start its own series in 2008 in reaction to what it sees as Ecclestone carving far too much of the commercial pie for himself.

"Formula One Management are delighted that this agreement is in place and that the future of Formula One has now been stabilised," a statement from Ecclestone's company said. Max Mosley, the president of FIA, added: "We are very pleased to have reached this agreement with Formula One's commercial rights holder and the oldest team in the championship."

Ferrari have turned their back on GPWC and Luca di Montezemolo, the Ferrari president and chief executive who last September launched a scathing attack on Ecclestone and accused him of being greedy and out of date, said: "It is important and also pleasing that the FIA, which is the governing body, and FOM, which represents those who have organised Formula One in these past years, and Ferrari, which is the only team to have taken part in the world championship without a break since its inception, have put out a strong message of stability for the future of Formula One. This agreement is in line with what Ferrari has hoped for, for a long time."

Ecclestone has since promised all teams a bigger share of the revenue, and said reaction from those he had talked to had been positive.

A GPWC spokesman admitted it had not seen this move coming. Several Formula One figures believe that the deal is the death knell for the GPWC project and that by signing Ferrari, Ecclestone and Mosley have snatched the jewel in the crown.

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