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Mat Coch writes:
The 2013 Concorde Agreement is all but signed, according to F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone, who says it's now in the hands of the lawyers.
"Commercially it's done," Ecclestone confirmed in an interview with the Daily Mail. "We are just talking to the lawyers -'why have you used this word, that word'. Typical lawyers but everything's fine."
The Concorde Agreement is the commercial contract which binds the teams to competing in the Formula One championship, guaranteeing the distribution of prize money and other benefits for teams in return.
The current contract is due to expire at the end of this year as discussions over the new contact carried on behind the scenes. While most teams are believed to have been happy with the new contract there were suggestions that Mercedes was far from pleased.
One of the sticking points surrounded the way the Mercedes team was viewed in comparison to the likes of Ferrari, Red Bull and McLaren. Rewarded for their competitiveness and historical value to the sport all three teams were offered special deals outside of the Concorde Agreement when the sport floats on the stock exchange, while Mercedes was not.
Speculation suggested that unless the same deal was offered to Mercedes the German giant could walk away from the sport, indeed it was reported the company had already investigated just what it would cost to end its Formula One operation.
Ecclestone's claim that he has "total agreement" seems to end that speculation. Attention now turns to the technical and sporting regulations for the coming seasons. That however is not Ecclestone's realm, with the FIA laying out the sport's rules in consultation with its competitors.
The biggest sticking point remains the 2014 engine regulations, which will introduce small capacity turbo charged engines to the sport for the first time since the 1980s. Teams have raised concerns over the cost of developing and purchasing the new powerplants, while Ecclestone has been outspoken in his opposition to them.
"I'm anti, anti, anti, anti moving into this small turbo four cylinder formula," Ecclestone said last year. "We don't need it and if it's so important it's the sort of thing that should be in saloon car racing.
"These changes are going to be terribly costly to the sport," he added.
"Jean (Todt) and I are a little bit at loggerheads over this engine. I don't see the reason for it. We had the KERS system and this was supposed to solve the problem that F1 is not green and now we've got something else."
For the moment there seems no consensus or decision, with engine suppliers continuing with development according to the rules as they currently stand.
"The 2014 power unit is important to Renault and the project planning is well under way," says Renault Sport's Rob White.
How that discussion is resolved remains to be seen, but at least Ecclestone has answered one of the bigger questions heading in to next year.
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