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Mercedes could challenge new agreement
Mercedes have maintained their silence in the wake of Bernie Ecclestone claiming "the majority" of Formula One teams had agreed terms on a new Concorde Agreement.
Ecclestone confirmed three of the 'big four' teams - Ferrari, McLaren and Red Bull Racing - were on board with the new contract, with the current one expiring at the end of the year.
The Concorde Agreement is the tri-partite pact that unites the teams, motor sport's governing body the FIA, and F1's owners on a commercial basis, and is vital to the running of the sport.
However, Mercedes are the one major marque of the 12 teams that has so far not indicated their acknowledgement of the Agreement.
It has been suggested to Press Association Sport that Mercedes are unhappy with the new Agreement, and could challenge it under European competition law. Articles 101 and 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union govern the area of market competition.
The first of those suggests 'the most obvious example of illegal conduct infringing Article 101 is a cartel between competitors (which may involve price-fixing or market sharing)', whilst 102 refers to abuse of power.
The Concorde Agreement is formulated in such a way whereby a team such as Ferrari, given their historical nature and longevity in F1, is rewarded more under its terms and conditions.
It is understood there is then a sliding scale of payments to the other teams, resulting in the likes of Marussia and HRT, who are only in their third year, not earning anything.
As a test case, Mercedes could claim the Concorde Agreement is a cartel between competitors, and that Ecclestone is abusing his power as chief executive and organising payments as he sees fit.
Press Association Sport has learned neither Marussia nor HRT have seen the latest commercial agreement, and potentially Caterham. On board with Ferrari, McLaren and Red Bull are believed to be Lotus, Force India, Toro Rosso and Sauber, with Williams an unknown quantity at present.