The FIA, Bernie Ecclestone’s Formula One Management and Ferrari have signed a new Concorde Agreement, effectively ending other F1 manufacturer’s hopes of a GPWC breakaway series.

The FIA, Bernie Ecclestone’s Formula One Management and Ferrari have signed a new Concorde Agreement, effectively ending other F1 manufacturer’s hopes of a GPWC breakaway series.

Ferrari's decision to support the FIA and F1 supremo Ecclestone and detach itself from the other manufacturers who had been orchestrating the new series comes as a surprise. Ferrari, along with Renault, Mercedes Benz and BMW had been the key protagonists of the rival series, which was due to launch in 2008 once the current Concorde Agreement expired.

This leaves the planned Grand Prix World Championship (GPWC) in a vulnerable position, especially with Ford's withdrawal from F1 late last year. The GPWC was launched as teams tried to secure a larger percentage of F1's commercial income once the current agreement ends in 2007.

"The parts of the Concorde Agreement they were concerned with will be dealt with and they are going to get more money," said Ecclestone after the announcement was made. The current head of F1 racing has apparently offered the teams an extra $500 million (about thirty billion rands) over the next three years as part of the new agreement.

He said that the teams had not all agreed to sign yet, though they were all aware of the new terms. Ecclestone said that the team bosses he had spoken to on the telephone were positive about the development.

However, gaining Ferrari's support is a major coup for Ecclestone, whose position appeared particularly vulnerable after an English High Court last year ruled in favour of the three banks that, together with his family, control F1. The case revolved around the management board's composition of Formula One Holdings (FOH) since Speed Investments - the collective name for the banks who each hold 25 per cent of FOH - felt that it held in a minority position on the board, despite its majority stake in the company.

A renewed Ecclestone on Wednesday said he was delighted with Ferrari's move before adding that the signed agreement addressed many of the issues highlighted by the GPWC. He added too that the GPWC's opposition came as no surprise to him, but downplayed its effects on the championship and the teams.

"There's never been a battle," Ecclestone said. "Every time we've had a Concorde Agreement - and I've been involved with all of them - there's always been something going on and somebody doing something, trying to do the best they can for themselves. No problems"

Last year, while talking about the future of F1 once the Concorde Agreement lapses, Luca di Montezemolo, president and chief executive of Ferrari said: "There will be only one F1 World Championship in 2008 and we should take a decision on that in 2005. I know that Bernie Ecclestone owns the rights to the 'Formula One' name but it doesn't really matter to me.

"Whoever rules over the new Formula One must know that there must be big changes to profit sharing and the say the teams and manufacturers. If there's no solution, then, from 2008, there will be a new series organised on our behalf."

However, following Wednesday's announcement, he had something different to say. "It is important that the FIA, Formula One Management and Ferrari, which is the only team to have taken part in the World Championship without a break, since its inception, have put out a strong message of stability for the future of Formula One. This agreement is in line with what Ferrari had hoped for for a long time."

President of the FIA Max Mosley said, "We are very pleased to have reached this agreement with F1's commercial rights holder (Ecclestone) and the oldest team in the championship. The agreement is significant because it will ensure the future development of the FIA's most important championship."

Original article from Car