Maffei urges team to agree Concorde while the "iron is hot"


Liberty Media CEO and President, Greg Maffei has said the sport's stakeholders should agree to extend the current Concorde agreement, and "strike while the iron is hot". Clearly, some are keener than others.

"I think there's a consensus among the teams and the FIA and ourselves that now might be a good time to try and strike while the iron is hot," he said during an investor conference call on Friday.

"There's certainly no obligation to do that," he admitted, "and there's certainly no risk if that doesn't get done. As you may recall the current agreement went right to the end and historically in many cases, the teams have operated without a Concorde agreement."

The Concorde agreement is what holds the sport together commercially, and as opposed to when the previous management was in charge, the teams have been far more compliant since Liberty Media took control of the sport in early 2017.

Asked if the teams agree with Maffei's claim that a new deal should be agreed now - while the iron is hot - or whether it might be more beneficial to wait until 2025 - when the current agreement ends - and see how things play out, Toto Wolff said: "I think most important is to have these conversations behind closed doors.

"I think if we have a long period of alignment and a contract, such as Concorde, the longer it goes, the better it is, I think, for all of our businesses," he continued, "but we are in a very early stage. We haven't really started talking properly. That's going to happen soon. But it should happen in a constructive way, not maybe live broadcasted and creating controversy."

"Formula 1 is in fantastic health at the moment," said Christian Horner, "you can see Formula 1 is flying. Formula 1 has never been in a stronger position.

"Liberty have done a great job with a sport," he continued. "We're seeing new markets, new growth, new fans, and a new demographic of fans.

"There's always going to be that debate between the teams and the Commercial Rights Holder of who should have the more value, and I look forward to the jousting that will no doubt take place. But I think longevity is in the best interest of everybody, to have a settled sport that has a clear direction for the future, of what its goals and objectives are, together with the Technical Regulations and Sporting Regulations and Financial Regulations that we want to develop for the future, to just continue to make the sport better and more appealing and more inclusive, over the coming years."

"Everything's working great," said Zak Brown. "If you look at the health of the sport, from a Liberty point of view, from the ten racing teams' point of view, the teams that want to come in, the promoters, the fans, the TV, so I'd like to see it get done sooner rather than later, just for the stability and longevity of the sport.

"I also think it's a little bit of a rinse and repeat," he added. "I think it's working. I don't think there's much to add or change to the existing agreement, so I don't think it needs to be a prolonged conversation either. I'd pretty much be happy with a rinse and repeat with a few tweaks here and there.

"There's things in the digital age that have advanced since we did the last agreement that I think need to be discussed. But I think for the most part, it's a solid agreement. It's working so we don't really need to fix what's not broken."

"Starting early and talking early is... there's no downside to it," agreed Otmar Szafnauer. "So if FOM are willing to start talking with the teams and start an outline of what a new Concorde agreement could be, yeah, starting early, I don't see any downside with that."

"You know how long these Concorde agreements normally take, we all know that," said Guenther Steiner, "so the earlier we start, the earlier we get to a conclusion.

"I'm not against this if FOM wants to come and propose to us what they want to do for the next five years, which is actually the next seven years now. I think we, as a team, are pretty happy to talk with them."

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Published: 06/05/2023
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