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Crunch time for Formula One

For the majority of F1 fans the action on the track over free practice today, qualifying tomorrow and the race on Sunday will take the majority of our attentions.

Last time out Formula One put on a real show for the spectators, with the new regulations regarding tyres, DRS, KERS all playing their part in improving the spectacle and producing an exciting race from the moment the lights went out, to the moment the chequered flag fell.

But behind the scenes secret meetings and not-so-secret meetings are being held up and down the paddock, with more politics being played out then there is in Westminster.

A new Concorde Agreement needs to be thrashed out between the 12 Formula One teams, with various points up for discussion and due to this we are witnessing a lot of jostling for position, with teams fighting for their own interests.

'At the moment everything is calm, but soon something will happen.' Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali has been quoted by Autosport Magazine following an interview with Auto Bild Motorsport.

That something is actually a meeting between Ferrari, McLaren, Red Bull Racing and Mercedes-Benz with potential Formula One investors News Corp next week.

It's interesting timing for a meeting between just 4 teams and a consortium which may, or may not, takeover F1 and could well have an influence on future talks to renegotiate the Concorde Agreement.

What's also interesting is Renault's non-involvement, which could be related to the current argument over engine regulations.

Renault are backing the new 1.6-litre, four cylinder engines set for 2013, but others including Ferrari, are opposed to the changes.

'I need to find out more, to be honest. Because I know there is a lot of discussions regarding the engine, we all know there is some difference of interests of FOM and the FIA. It is the usual game.

'We have to sit down this weekend, we have a lot of meetings together and we have a FOTA meeting as well so we will see,'
Renault team principal Eric Boullier told Autosport when asked why Renault had not been included in the meeting.

Due to the disagreements between the teams there has even been mention of the possibility of a breakaway series, which seems to always be threatened during negotiations such as this, but the Renault chief doesn't believe it's a big threat yet: 'I don't think we are at the point to speak about there being a breakaway series and stuff like that, I think we need to first focus on being FOTA, all teams together, and then we will see.'

But while the teams are currently duelling over engine regulations, they do, in the main at least, agree that F1 needs to improve the promotion of the sport.

Domenicali said: 'who is responsible for the show? A marketing partner is needed.

'It can be CVC once more, but it must invest in F1 and develop. And we must make sure our sport becomes interesting for young people.'

McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh said: 'F1 is spoilt. We have lots of markets that want us there, that have enthusiasm and knowledge, and are switched onto it.

While Boullier added: 'The owner needs to think about how they could maybe spend some money to promote the business they are running or owning. And maybe to make sure that the value, which does interest a company like CVC, is better.

'But for that you need to have some future and you need to see the strategy for the future of the series. And with the Concorde Agreement ending in two years, it certainly needs to be resolved and discussed now because it is the only way to build the future of the series.'

The power struggle will continue, both on and off the track this weekend.

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The Journalist

Writer: Red5 Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Friday May 6 2011

Time: 9:23AM


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