Formula 1 row nearing end

Fears about a Formula 1 breakaway championship should be finally laid to rest in the next few days, with teams and the sport's chiefs poised for a series of key meetings to secure grand prix racing's future

Formula 1 row nearing end

Although there had been fears that a walk out by teams of a FIA Technical Working Group meeting in Germany earlier this week would reignite plans for a rival series, behind the scenes moves mean the ongoing political crisis is now actually heading to a resolution.

The first major step to finding the solution is a meeting scheduled for Wednesday, where F1 teams are planning to sign a legally binding agreement that will control costs over the next few years. Putting that in place is vital for bringing the FIA on board.

Further talks are then scheduled, which will perhaps run on into the week prior to the Hungarian Grand Prix, to get a Concorde Agreement signed between the teams and F1's commercial rights holders CVC.

Once these two agreements are in place, then the documents are set to be presented to the FIA for them to sign. It is understood the governing body will be told to sign the documents or CVC and the teams will begin working together on their own championship.

Ross Brawn said he was optimistic about the situation going forward, feeling that Wednesday's setback in discussions between the FIA and the Formula One Teams' Association (FOTA) was merely a 'blip.'

"It was disappointing," he explained. "Nobody enjoys those things and in the technical area a lot of the teams have had a very good relationship with the FIA over the years and it's very disappointing when those things happen. It was just an untenable situation. If we get all the other matters sorted out then we can get the technical side back on a sensible footing.

"We are seeking a solution with the commercial rights holder and the FIA to get everybody happy and comfortable with going forward. I don't want to say too much. There is a lot of work going on and it is being done in the right spirit. Wednesday last week was very disappointing but I hope it was just a blip in the process rather than a chasm."

When asked if in the wake of the financial document getting signed off on Wednesday he was confident the FIA would join the Concorde Agreement, Brawn said: "I really hope so. We need to sort this out. All the teams are suffering. This is not a helpful environment for sorting out our commercial situation.

"You cannot tell partners or investors what the future holds, and we want to be able to do that. We want to have confidence in explaining what F1 is going to be about in the next five years, so we really do need to get that all sorted. It is a terrible distraction in what's a fantastic season. It's a great shame."

McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh said that he hoped the teams could settle all outstanding issues with the FIA and CVC.

"A FOTA series is clearly an option, and we need to know quickly what we are doing," he said. "The later we leave it, the more difficult it is. So, I don't think that will be based upon individuals and egos that are in F1, it will be based upon - do we have an acceptable contract? Do we have an entry at the moment? I am a little bit confused about that I suppose.

"FOTA is not here to campaign against any individual, it is here to try and improve the sport. And we all know that we can improve the sport, and that is not to criticise any one individual or any one organisation.

"We the teams can do a better job, we can work together, and we can work with the governing body, we can work with the commercial rights holder, so we have got to make it better.

"It may be part of the problem in the situation that all of the parties feel that they can go their own way. If you follow that, you don't always get to a consensus quickly enough."

Although there had been initial hopes that the Concorde Agreement would be signed off this week, it is more likely that the matter will stretch on a little bit.

BMW motorsport director Mario Theissen said: "Let us rather say within the next two weeks if everything runs according to plan, then it is certainly possible."

The discussions between the teams and CVC has also prompted fresh question marks about the future role of Bernie Ecclestone.

A report in The Sunday Telegraph suggested that senior figures from CVC met earlier this week to discuss the possibility of moving Ecclestone aside into an honorary role, having already decided to take the initiative in dealing with the teams.

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