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GP Week : Issue 16
F1 NEWS >> THE FIA World Motorsport Council is due to meet on Wednesday to discuss changes to the Formula 1 regulations and a new stance over the Concorde Agreement, which could lead to a bitterly destructive power struggle for control of the sport. Stories online over the weekend of the French Grand Prix suggested that the main topic for discussion will be the ongoing negotiations over the Concorde Agreement, with FIA President Max Mosley rumoured to be considering agreeing to a new deal on the proviso that the F1 teams receive a greater percentage of the revenue made by the sport’s commercial rights holder, Bernie Ecclestone and the 75 percent owners of F1, CVC Partners. Such a move would be designed with the sole intention of uniting the F1 teams behind Mosley who, despite his current status of persona-non-grata in F1 circles, would be likely to gain their support if it led to them receiving more money. GPWeek has learned that the grand irony in this whole affair is that one of the topics outlined for discussion on the WMSC agenda, is the doubling of the F1 entry fee for F1 teams, meaning that if the teams were to be granted a larger slice of F1’s revenue pie, the FIA would also end up with greater revenue from the F1 teams. With costs expected to rise in 2009 with the introduction of KERS, the teams will be reluctant to pay out more money on race entry – however it may be a small price to pay for an increased percentage of promotional revenue of the sport. The fear of the teams siding with Mosley is that the man who stands to lose the most from the redistribution of promotional money is Bernie Ecclestone. There is little doubt that Ecclestone will argue against any such shift in the percentage of payments. CVC too stands to lose out as a lack of revenue for them means they could become unable to repay the loans taken out to purchase their 75% share of F1 from Ecclestone. An additional topic believed to be on the agenda is the issue of tyre warmers. Initially banned from 2009 onwards, the WMSC will be debating whether to reverse this decision and allow the F1 teams to continue to run them. F1 power struggle over new Concorde BRUNO Senna has been left to contemplate what might have been after his French GP2 weekend, while ART Grand Prix’s Luca Filippi can thank a tyre gamble for his first podium for the season. Senna, who had taken pole position and the championship lead on Friday, was looking good for the race win on Saturday until a clutch problem forced him out of the race. Starting 23rd on Sunday, he held his nerve on a wet track to rise as high as third before a gear selection fault dropped him off the pace by almost two seconds. He eventually finished fifth. “The dashboard said Sunday’s problem was a barrel failure, the piece that selects the gears. That made me unable to go full throttle and unable to switch gears up and down properly, so when I saw people I didn’t put up much resistance because there was no point and it would have been dangerous if I’d lost drive. So I did what I could.” Meanwhile, Filippi, who came to Magny Cours without a single point to his name, endured a difficult qualifying and first race, but took an informed gamble on strategy for Sunday’s wet race to finish third. “I’m really happy because I really needed this kind of condition to be a bit more relaxed and show my potential,” he told GPWeek. “Basically before the race I was straight onto the radio telling the team to keep slick tyres because I knew from last year when we had very similar conditions in race two that the track was maybe very slippery at the beginning but that in six or 10 laps it would get more and more dry. I knew that so I pushed for that and it was the right strategy. “The only problem was that we had a full dry set-up, so it was very slippery at the beginning. It was very tricky but because I knew we had a good strategy I didn’t want to take any risks and go off for no reason. Maybe we lost one second a lap at the beginning, but that was better than throwing away a good result.” Senna lost the championship lead to Giorgio Pantano on Saturday as the Italian took 11 points for the race win and fastest lap. Fortunately for Senna, title rival Romain Grosjean failed to finish either race (Saturday through hydraulics, Sunday thanks to a spin) and Pantano retired on Sunday with bent suspension picked up during the race. GP2: Mechanicals cost Senna – but Filippi gamble pays off 10