Ecclestone on team commitment and Beckham
30 April, 2009
The Concorde Agreement expired at the end of 2007, resulting in a non-binding ‘memorandum of understanding’ now governing the terms of the teams’ income from commercial rights. “They want to be paid in the same manner as if they had agreed to be committed for five years but they don’t want to be committed,” Ecclestone, representing F1′s owners, is quoted as saying by the Financial Times.
Should their lack of commitment continue, Ecclestone says he will use some of the teams’ commercial income to subsidise the race fees paid by circuit operators. Interestingly, the FT report coincided with reports that the 78-year-old billionaire may have bought the rights to the 2010 British grand prix from the struggling Donington leaseholder Simon Gillett.
The publication said Ecclestone does not rule out acquiring more circuits in the event that he pays the teams less. Referring to F1′s teams, Ecclestone added: “They shouldn’t get the prize money. We are now running more of a cash-on-delivery service. You sign the contract and we will pay you in full.”
For a new Concorde, he said teams want the freedom to leave F1 at their leisure but still be paid at the current higher rate. Ecclestone said “we should revert back to the deal we originally had – 47 per cent of the television rights – and they can go where they like. We should be paying a lot less to the teams and charging the circuits a lot less”.
F1 may be louder and more glamorous, but the sport cannot compete with football in one area, Ecclestone has admitted. He is well placed to draw comparisons between the world’s two most popular sports, as he also co-owns the London club Queens Park Rangers.
This week on a visit to Spain, the 78-year-old hit out at some of F1′s stars, including Fernando Alonso, calling them “stupid” for not being more interested in promoting their sport.
He also thinks there are not enough characters: like the elite advertising brand and fashion icon David Beckham. “In formula one we do not have a Messi,” billionaire Ecclestone said, referring to the 21-year-old Argentinean player. “Or Beckham. He would be ideal,” he is quoted as saying by the El Mundo newspaper.
Ecclestone, contemplating how to encapsulate all the under-represented groups in Formula 1, then laid out his dream occupant of a Grand Prix cockpit. “Ideally she would be Jewish and black,” he joked.