One of the most remarkable sights on Silverstone Sunday was footage of Bernie Ecclestone ushering Olympic president Jacques Rogge and the Belgian's wife Ann about the grid shortly before the start of the British Grand Prix.
On the face of it there was nothing unusual in the deed, for the 81-year-old and his entourage have regularly shown heads of state, movie stars and Beautiful People about his personal Scalextric set.
But what was perhaps more significant about it was that FIA president Jean Todt was present on the grid, yet he and his movie-star partner Michelle Yeow were not invited to join the Bernie/Jacques party, certainly not in view of the cameras, which are, of course, controlled by Bernie's Boys.
It can be no coincidence that a few days earlier the Daily Mail reported, in an interview with Ecclestone, that 'the 2013-2020 Concorde Agreement, the contract that binds the teams, Ecclestone's commercial rights holders and the governing FIA to the sport, is agreed in all its commercial elements. Even Mercedes, who had threatened to walk out on Formula 1 if they did not receive a larger slice of money, are on side.'
"Total agreement," confirmed Ecclestone to the daily. "We are just talking to the lawyers. Commercially it's done."
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South African-born Dieter trained as industrial engineer before holding down a variety of senior motor industry marketing and manufacturing positions. At the age of 40 he decided to follow his passion, and became the first and only South African journalist to cover Formula 1 regularly. Dieter joined AtlasF1 at the beginning of 2004 – a year prior to its merger with Autosport – and his regular column offers an intriguing analysis of F1’s politicking and commercial chicanery. Although now also proudly Belgian, he gives his domicile as "Wherever F1 duplicity lurks".@RacingLines More features by Dieter Rencken