Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner recently described the 2020 Concorde Agreement talks as ‘remarkably straightforward’. Quite fitting for this groundbreaking agreement to be announced in F1’s 70th year because the sport has certainly experienced many changes. However, Mercedes-AMG Petronas Team Principal Toto Wolff is in no doubt that the terms of the agreement will result in the ‘biggest transition’ Formula 1 has ever experienced.
Liberty Media was very shrewd with their negotiation timeline in that they stipulated that any teams signing the 2020 Concorde Agreement by the ‘early sign deadline’ would be rewarded. Hardly surprising then that all ten teams of the current 2020 F1 grid chose to do so.
To ensure that on-track racing became more competitive there had to be provision made to narrow the gap between the teams and this why at the heart of the 2020 Concorde Agreement is a decision that there would be a more equal distribution of prize money. There were many who thought Mercedes would object to this point due to how far out in front they are.
Reports in the media stated that Merecedes had not been confident signing the 2020 Concorde Agreement because they felt the current terms did not reflect their recent success as shown by six straight constructors’ championships and being well on course for a seventh in 2020.
Toto Wolff had already gone on record saying that Mercedes would be ‘the biggest victim’ when speaking to the media at the British Grand Prix about the proposed prize fund loss.
However, not long after this, the following week in fact, Toto Wolff announced that he and F1 CEO Chase Carey had held ‘very constructive discussions’.
Now, with pen put to paper, speaking ahead of this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps, Mercedes-AMG Team Principal Toto Wolff made clear his team’s intention and reason for signing the landmark 2020 Concorde Agreement:
"We have always said that we wanted to stay in F1, so the agreement wasn't necessarily all that surprising...But we're happy that we could bring the negotiations to a positive conclusion.
"We are committed to our sport and we're looking forward to the upcoming years which will see the biggest transition F1 has ever seen.”
Much speculation has been written as to the future of Toto Wolff and whether he will remain in his current position or move elsewhere.
There could be an indication that the Mercedes master will hang around a little bit longer seeing how he explains who he feels the 2020 Concorde Agreement will reward:
"This will reward agile, open-minded teams who can adapt successfully to the demands of the new rules."
In 2020, Mercedes-AMG Petronas has already gone past the 200 points mark after just six races – 221 so far. Currently they are out in front leading Red Bull Racing by 86 points and dominating once again.
Therefore, would Toto Wolff be tempted to be that man to prove his team can successfully adapt to these demanding new rules in the biggest transition F1 has ever seen?
I would certainly not bet against it.