The acquisition of the majority interest in Formula by Liberty Media had me wondering just what might be in store for F1. A long-term investment strategy would seem likely in their case as a media organization and so, what would the long-term changes be for the series?
You could see this playing out many different ways and one of my fears was that any new American ownership would default to American sport tropes in an effort to make F1 “better”. I argued that the new owners would do well to understand you have to take America to F1, not the other way around. After reading a few comments from the man who would be king, Chase Carey, it seems he understands that any draconian moves to ex-patriate F1 from its European and UK sensibilities would be a bad move:
“We didn’t make this move because of America,” he told Sky Sports News.
“America is an opportunity, I think we can do a lot more in America, it’s probably more long-term than short-term,” he added.
“Realistically it’s a global sport. We’re not trying to Americanize the sport. We have great respect for the European foundations of it. Europe is critically important to us.”
That’s good news and I don’t mean this to sound patronizing, he’s a very sharp guy, but if he already gets that DNA issue up front, then I have a better feeling about what they may do or not do. A long-term solution for the American audience and prospects is good but there are some immediate issues that will be interesting to see how they address and then there is the FIA and its regulatory oversight and direction of the formula for the series.
They have a big task ahead of them and perhaps if they understand the DNA of the sport, the milieu in which it has been born, then maybe they will be measured in their approach on both sides of the pond.
As for America, they would do well to link their series and utility with the elements that American fans value but there’s a challenge in that as American racing fans value different kinds of elements. As for American F1 fans, they are aligned much closer with what global fans of the sport like but even within the worldwide fan ranks, there is not consensus on how to move forward.
Then there are the existing contracts over the next 15-20 years and I would be very interested to know if the circuit contracts or other sponsors deals are in Mr. E’s name, or a company he controls, or FOM’s name. Not suggesting they are, I’m just curious. There is a logical reason to want his retention for three more years as the big team contracts expire in 2020.
Hat Tip: Sky Sports