Analysis: Is Renault deal first salvo in new Concorde battle?
As the F1 world awaits a decision from Renault on its F1 future, it has emerged that the French car manufacturer's decision could be the first move in Bernie Ecclestone's bid to secure the long-term health of the sport.
Renault boss Carlos Ghosn is due to make the final decision this week on whether the French manufacturer will go ahead with the Lotus takeover.
Senior Renault executive Jerome Stoll, who is also the president of Renault Sport, was in talks with Ecclestone and F1 owner CVC throughout the Abu Dhabi weekend, as the two parties tried to hammer out a deal.
Central to the discussions is believed to be the extent of any commercial rights income that Renault will get for returning to F1 as a works effort.
CVC boss Donald Mackenzie told Motorsport.com that, while a satisfactory deal had been agreed in principle, nothing could be taken for granted until it was signed off by Ghosn.
Sources have suggested that the contract with Ecclestone that Ghosn and the Renault board has on the table is for nine years - from 2016 until 2024.
The significance of that is that other teams are currently bound to bilateral agreements, that used to be unified into one document known as the Concorde Agreement, until 2020.
If Renault's nine-year commitment to F1 is confirmed, then it will be the first evidence of an outfit committing in to the next 'Concorde' period.
Should Renault confirm its place until 2024, then the question is whether it will signal the start of some jockeying for position as other teams line up to extend their own deals.
Being first in the queue to agree terms with Ecclestone can ensure a bigger slice of the cake and thus longer terms security.
The way things usually work in F1 is that teams that are reluctant to agree terms, get left behind when the cake is being sliced up. Leave it too late and there be nothing left.
At the same time, longer term deals boost the value of the sport, and given that CVC is expected to be selling its shareholding at some stage, the motivation to get such deals done is obvious.
The intriguing aspect is that this could be happening while the complaint to the EU from Sauber and Force India is still working its way through the system, and thus the current deals are potentially in question.
The other remarkable thing is that when Renault's deal runs out at the end 2024 Ecclestone will be 94.
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