FIA ready to extend Ecclestone’s deal until 2110

Motorsport's governing body, the FIA, approved a conditional agreement at yesterday's World Motor Sports Council meeting to extend its deal with Bernie Ecclestone's SLEC family trust that will allow it to control the commercial rights to Formula 1 for over 100 years

FIA ready to extend Ecclestone’s deal until 2110

According to the Financial Times newspaper, the outcome of yesterday's meeting is that Ecclestone has 29 days from now to reach a final agreement, and pay £216million with a further £36million later. Ecclestone currently holds the TV and commerical rights to F1 until 2010, and his family trust will now effectively own one of the world's biggest sports until 2110.

The confirmation of the deal places the onus back on the subject of the ownership of SLEC, which is likely to be the 'conditional' part of the FIA's agreement. It now seems certain that the five motor manufacturers seeking a stake in F1 - Ford (Jaguar), Renault, BMW, Fiat (Ferrari) and Mercedes-Benz - will purchase a slice of Ecclestone's trust. However, the recent securing of a majority share by German media groups EMTV and Kirch has complicated the issue.

The FT suggests that the manufacturers could buy up to 35 per cent of SLEC, with Ecclestone retaining 25 percent and Kirch/EMTV holding the remainder. This would mean Kirch/EMTV selling a percentage of its current majority shareholding, and would also effectively end fears that the media giants would attempt to turn F1 into an exclusive pay-per-view, digital TV-only sport.

The car makers had threatened to start their own breakaway rival to F1, and are also believed to have tabled a rival bid for the overall control of F1. But if the new deal goes through in the next month as planned, Ecclestone would remain at the helm of F1 on a day-to-day basis for the forseeable future.

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