FIA weigh in on F1 sale to Liberty Media

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the FIA have weighed in on the sale of majority interest in Formula 1 saying:

The FIA was obviously not party to the negotiations surrounding the intended sale. As such, the Federation awaits further information regarding the proposed terms of the transaction and welcomes the opportunity to discuss with all parties the possible consequences of this agreement on the promotion of the FIA’s flagship championship.

Commenting on the sale, FIA President Jean Todt said:

“While it remains to be seen how this acquisition will influence the promotion of the FIA Formula One championship, we welcome this long-term investment in Formula One by a company that has such a broad portfolio of sports, media and entertainment businesses. As motor sport’s governing body and regulator we acknowledge Liberty Media’s wide expertise in these fields and we look forward to working in close partnership with them in the future in order to further develop Formula One and bring it to new generations of motor sport enthusiasts around the world.”

There’s not a lot here other than the FIA stating they weren’t privy to the discussions or details and they are, effectively, asking to see the details. It also, in my opinion, seems rather endorsing regardless of the lack of details.

In many ways, Liberty Media is different than CVC. CVC is an investment group and Liberty Media, while investing, is a media group one would suppose is thinking longer term than CVC.

I’ve read commentary about how Liberty will take F1 to all-new height sin America and how it will revolutionize digital platforms for F1. That may all be true but F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone was clear when he said that regardless fofo the differences, Liberty Media was no different than CVC:

“I don’t know why anybody criticised CVC because they were shareholders, they weren’t management,” Ecclestone said.

“They bought the company to make money, and that will be the intention of Liberty.

“They’re not looking at it as a hobby, so it’s no different to CVC.

“But I’m really hoping this deal is still going to be beneficial for Formula 1.

“Everyone seems positive and happy with this deal, and I fall into that group.”

The quote is from AUTOSPORT and was made before the deal was announced. Perhaps he still feels the same, who knows? We;ll have to wait and see what differences Liberty Media has in mind.

Hat Tip: AUTOSPORT

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Alianora La Canta
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Alianora La Canta

It’s going to be hard for the FIA to use its veto having been this initially welcoming of the deal without even checking it – especially given that it seems to be getting presented to them as a fait accompli. What happened to the regulators regulating?

Tom Firth
Guest
Tom Firth

Agreed, question is now then.. does the FIA receive its 1% funds when the deal is complete or does the EC have something to say?

Guy Fawkes
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Guy Fawkes

I’m fairly new to F1 and am curious. What exactly is the relationship between F1 and FIA? I would have assumed FIA would have been involved in any sales negotiations involving F1.

Tom Firth
Guest
Tom Firth

Hi,

F1 is the series itself. It’s commercial rights are controlled by Formula One group and the commercial rights holder is, whilst not the majority owner of Formula One Group, The commercial rights holder and the man basically in charge of the series, from a commercial perspective.

So that’s TV deals, trackside advertising. The deals with the teams etc for them to race.

The FIA is the Federation

Tom Firth
Guest
Tom Firth

Hi, F1 is the series itself. It’s commercial rights are controlled by Formula One group and the commercial rights holder is, whilst not the majority owner of Formula One Group, The commercial rights holder is the man basically in charge of the series, from a commercial perspective, which is Bernie Ecclestone. So that’s TV deals, trackside advertising. The deals with the teams etc for them to race. The FIA is the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile, it’s role is similar to that of FIFA or the IOC, in that it is a global, non commercial governing regulatory body for the sport… Read more »

Sakae
Guest
Sakae

I thought that FiA actually owns the series F1. Isn’t that so?
Commercial rights holder merely leasing it.
FiA receives, I think, 1% of commercial profits.

Tom Firth
Guest
Tom Firth

Technically yes. The rights to be ‘Formula 1’ are leased, but for 100 years from 2011 to Formula One Group, and it is apparently watertight. The reason for the 100 year lease, is the FIA was forced to separate the commercial side of the sports it regulates from the governance aspect in 2001.

Is it possible for them to seize the rights back? Yes possibly.

Likely to ever happen – No.

Sakae
Guest
Sakae

i am not a lawyer, however so much is known, that any unreasonable contract terms can be challenged, if the challenge is well reasoned. 4x profit over investment, while Tier 2 entrants are struggling, I thought, was sufficient, had someone really wanted to do that.

MIE
Editor

Yes, Bernie Ecclestone leased the commercial rights to the series, for 110 years. He the sold this on for a significant personal profit, while retaining his role in managing the series. The FIA’s primary function is to promote mothering worldwide, which is Jean Todt’s reason for spending so much time and effort on road safety. Several decades ago there was a desperate arm of the FIA in charge of the motorsport activities (FISA). With Todt as president spending so much of his time and effort on promoting road safety, perhaps it is time to re-introduce the sporting arm of the… Read more »

Tom Firth
Guest
Tom Firth

Love autocorrect ;-)

Sakae
Guest
Sakae

All true. I am of opinion for quite a while, that FiA needs a full time representative on the job, call it commissioner, or whatever label one wants to put on, such as Ross Brawn, for example, with Whiting (or if possible a new person) answering to him. Ross would represent FiA president, 24/7. This si not a part time job, nor I think MM’s excessive interference was acceptable either.

Guy Fawkes
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Guy Fawkes

Thanks, Tom. Excellent explanation. I love being able to ask questions here and not get “stupid n00b” as a reply.

Tom Firth
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Tom Firth

Very welcome. It is what makes FBC very special and I think I speak for all at FBC when I say we are very proud of that