Thriving on the back of the success of the Netflix series “Drive to Survive” and the growing popularity of the sport in the United States, Formula One (F1) faces new challenges as teams prepare to negotiate a new collective agreement with the sport’s governing body and owners.
As F1 grapples with the consequences of its success, wrangling over several contentious issues is expected to arise during the talks for the new Concorde Agreement. The current agreement between the three parties, which governs the sport, expires in 2025.
While attempting to keep the talks behind closed doors, Toto Wolff, the team principal of Mercedes, welcomes the early talks, but admits to anticipating controversy. Historical evidence also suggests the talks will be anything but smooth, as deals have been secured last minute, or after periods without a formal agreement, in the past.
One of the major issues F1 will face is the number of races in the season. With a record 23 events planned this season, some teams are pushing back against further expansion, insisting the sport has reached its limit. Red Bull’s team principal, Christian Horner, has suggested rotating the venue to reduce the pressure on the teams.
Another issue teams are likely to push back against is the cost implications of adding new teams. The existing agreement calls for a $200 million “dilution fee” to be paid by any new entry, and a bid by Michael Andretti’s Andretti Cadillac Team is expected to face resistance from other teams, particularly since the Andretti family’s rich history in motor racing, combined with General Motors and the Cadillac brand, makes the proposed team an attractive proposition. The teams will need to find a way to resolve the challenge without disrupting the balance of payments.
Although the Concorde Agreement has previously created disagreements, Formula One CEO Stefano Domenicali has hinted at a better outcome this time, with a rise in entry fees being a likely solution to the challenge of more teams. If things go as planned, the issues around new teams and the number of races are likely to be resolved in the upcoming negotiations.