Claire Williams expects Formula 1 bosses to begin talks over new deals binding teams to the championship beyond 2020 now engine rules for the next four years have been finalized.
After months of negotiations, engine regulations governing the cost, obligation to supply, performance convergence and noise plus new bodywork rules were finally pushed through for introduction in 2017.
The current bi-lateral agreements between F1’s organizers and the teams, which replaced the Concorde Agreement, expire at the end of 2020. With more than four years until then, it gives F1 bosses plenty of time to shape those new deals.
“Everyone has just put in an enormous amount of effort to get to the point where we are today with the 2017 regulations and the power units,” said Williams. “And I imagine now that those have been concluded that we now move on into a period of not only talking about the Concorde agreements for 2020 and beyond, but also what the sport looks like in 2020 and beyond.”
The current system of governance begins with the Strategy Group – made up of Mercedes, Ferrari, Red Bull, Williams, McLaren and Force India – meeting to discuss and put together proposals on the strategic direction of F1.
The F1 Commission then votes on those proposals and should one garner support, it goes forward to the World Motor Sport Council for ratification before being written into the regulations.
When asked if she would like the Strategy Group to continue after 2020, Williams said: “Falling short of no-one coming up with a viable alternative, yeah. It has pushed through some good things. What’s the alternative?
“Bernie [Ecclestone] has six [votes], [FIA president] Jean [Todt] has six and the teams have six but they listen to us. I have never experienced a case where they have just gone ‘no’ and bulldozed us – part from qualifying, but that was resolved pretty quickly. We did all stand up and stay no and they did agree to us.”
The Formula One Teams’ Association, which was formed in 2008 in a bid to give the teams a united voice in discussions with the FIA and Ecclestone regarding future commercial negotiations, was disbanded in 2014. Williams does not believe such a body will return in the future but says the teams have proved they are still capable of coming to a common decision.
“I don’t think you’ll see FOTA come back,” she said. “But there is still collective bargaining. Look at qualifying – we all came together, we all spoke and we agreed a position.
“We may not have a group with a name on it and an administrator looking after it but we still when we need to can come together and decide a position, it’s just not formalized.”