The only way that Formula One can welcome new fans to the sport is if they find a way to make the results of individual races and the Drivers’ Championship less predictable.
And F1 chiefs might have taken a step closer to that eventuality with their teams agreeing to sign a so-called concorde agreement that will aim to create a level playing field in the sport.
The idea behind the motion is to ensure a more equitable split in the prize money, rather than the big teams at the head of the grid taking home huge cheques while the smaller outfits scrap for loose change.
It is called a Concorde Agreement because the original draft of the concept was actually drawn up back in 1981 at the FIA offices, which could be found on Place de la Concorde in Paris. It’s taken 40 years to get the plan over the line, but the new deal will come into force for the 2021 season and last until 2025 at the very earliest.
A Level Playing Field
All ten of Formula One’s constructors have signed the agreement, including Mercedes – who stand to lose the most from the deal based upon their revenue and their competitive advantage on the track. Their boss Toto Wolff had initially been sceptical of the proposed terms, but after discussions with F1 chiefs he has been pleased with the ‘clarifications we wanted to achieve.’
A statement released by the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) read:
“The FIA and Formula One can today confirm that all 10 teams have agreed to the new concorde agreement. This follows extensive discussions over the past 12 months with all teams, Formula One, and the FIA.
“The agreement will secure the long-term sustainable future for Formula One and combined with the new regulations, announced in October 2019 that come into force in 2022, will reduce the financial and on track disparities between the teams, helping to level the playing field, creating closer racing on the track that fans want to see more of.”
By funnelling prize money and revenue down the system to the ‘weaker’ teams, the hope is that they will have more to invest in research and engineering, producing faster, more innovative cars that can compete with the likes of Mercedes and Red Bull on a more consistent basis. That will help to close the gap from a competitive perspective, creating more interesting races to watch and perhaps leading to new faces on the podium.
The chairman of Formula One, Chase Carey, certainly agrees. He said:
“All our fans want to see closer racing, wheel-to-wheel action and every team having a chance to get on the podium.
“The new concorde agreement, in conjunction with the regulations for 2022, will put in place the foundations to make this a reality and create an environment that is both financially fairer and closes the gaps between teams on the race track.”