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Marussia sign agreement with Ecclestone

By Alan Baldwin

GREATER NOIDA, India (Reuters) - Marussia have signed a bilateral deal with Formula One commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone in a move that clears the way to the signing of a new agreement governing the sport through to 2020.

The Russian-owned outfit were the last of the 11 teams to reach an accord with the British billionaire, who turns 83 on Monday.

Formula One's governing body, the FIA, has also signed separate paperwork setting out the framework for implementation of a new and confidential 'Concorde Agreement' that must be signed by them, the teams and Ecclestone.

The Concorde Agreement sets out the commercial side of a highly lucrative sport watched by hundreds of millions of people on television around the world and whose majority shareholder is private equity firm CVC Capital Partners.

"We can't talk about the terms of the contract itself but we can certainly confirm that we have reached agreement with the commercial rights holder for a bilateral agreement and that's now signed," Marussia's sporting director Graeme Lowdon told Reuters at the Indian Grand Prix on Friday.

"That allows us to look forward to the future, working together," added the Briton.

Lowdon felt the agreement would change the external perception of the team, tail-enders who have yet to score a point in three seasons, as an outfit somehow apart from the others.

"It was conspicuous by its absence in that all of the other teams have had an agreement for some time," he said. "We're happy to reach an agreement and we can focus on moving forward with some additional stability."

The old Concorde Agreement expired at the end of last year and the bilateral agreements have been signed as a temporary measure until the new one is sealed.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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