March 29, 2019 / 8:46 PM / 5 months ago

Motor racing-Ferrari confident of clinching post-2020 F1 agreement

MANAMA, March 29 (Reuters) - Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto believes Formula One will reach an agreement on wide-ranging changes from 2021, even if a few sticking points remain to be ironed out.

Formula One’s governing body, commercial rights holders Liberty Media, teams and other stakeholders are discussing how the sport will be run once existing agreements expire at the end of 2020.

“I think that we are collaborating well with both the (governing) FIA and F1,” Binotto, who replaced Maurizio Arrivabene as team principal in January, told reporters at the Bahrain Grand Prix on Friday.

U.S.-based Liberty Media, who took over in 2017, want to introduce a fairer system of revenue distribution and implement a cost-cap as part of their aim to create a more level playing field and better racing.

Together with the governing FIA, they presented a global package of changes to teams in London on Tuesday, fleshing out an initial proposal put to them a year ago.

It also includes new sporting, technical and power unit rules.

“There are still points where there is some distance compared to the position on what we believe should be the right Ferrari position,” said Binotto.

“But we are still discussing and I think it will be good for F1 to find the right agreement. I’m pretty sure we will do it.”

Ferrari are a key player in negotiations surrounding the sport’s future.

They are Formula One’s oldest and most successful team and enjoy special privileges and financial benefits as a result of their historic status.

Reluctant to give up their privileges, they have in the past threatened to quit over any watering down of their benefits.

Under Binotto and Louis Camilleri, who took over as chief executive after the death of Sergio Marchionne last year, the Maranello-based squad have taken a more collaborative approach.

Asked how big the sticking points were and how quickly they could be resolved, Binotto replied: “I think for us it will be more important to make sure that we’ve got the right agreement and we should not be caught by time.

“I am positive on the level of discussion and collaboration we’ve got so that’s why (I think) we will find the right balance.”

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff, who in the past has expressed reservations about the implementation of a cost cap, also struck a positive note.

“It was a productive meeting,” he said. “We got a lot of information that we need to digest now and then come back with feedback.” (Editing by Alan Baldwin/Toby Davis)

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