Liberty Media will not ‘Americanize’ F1; respects heritage

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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

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Paul KieferJr

If by “not Americanizing”, Liberty also means retaining the iconic tracks in Europe (and maybe expanding), then I’d be all for that. Then again, the current contracts that are out now may limit what they can do. Is America Europe? No, and certainly vice versa, and the twain shall remain separate as their identities are vastly different; yet, at the same time, we do have similarities, and we can always build on that. What I do hope is that the money they make, for the most part, gets plowed back into Formula 1 and they use what they can to… Read more »

Profpalm

OMG…i can breath a little now
(not kidding)

Joe Mama

Culturally, F1 is a bit of an old tribe, with a lot of traditions, sacred rites, history, and taboos that are woven into the fabric of the sport. Personally, the persistence of that texture is a big reason why I love F1. Unfortunately, American investment, imagined as an aggregate entity, does not have a sterling track record on maintaining the corporate identity and integrity of its investments. All the appropriate lip service will be offered, and concerns earnestly soothed, but in the long run, percieved investment value alone will drive decisions and the ultimate direction of F1. Soon Bernie will… Read more »

B1

“Culturally, F1 is a bit of an old tribe, with a lot of traditions, sacred rites, history, and taboos that are woven into the fabric of the sport.” “but in the long run, percieved investment value alone will drive decisions and the ultimate direction of F1.” If (a) is what has been attracting the fans for decades one would be foolish to try to f*ck with it in a meaningful manner. Malone & Co. are not exactly the smartest folks around but they are not dumb either. Just bringing up digital offering to a moderate for industry levels will yield… Read more »

Paul KieferJr

I’d rather chuck those “fee escalators” off a cliff. That’s like mortgage “balloon payments”: Pretty soon, the poor folks who bought in cheap will find themselves with a mortgage payment that they had no chance of qualifying for.

runnah

The words give me doubt but the mustache gives me reassurance.

Bacon Wrapped Sushi

Whenever I think American-izing I think of something around the lines of:

“The United States Grand Prix brought to you by Verizon! Welcome to the Mattress Firm Circuit of the Americas track. We will be taking a media timeout on lap 15 to reverse the running order and restart with the behind the Chevy Silverado pace truck, which is the most reliable, longest lasting, and fuel efficient truck on the road. Chevy. Find new roads.”

Guy Fawkes

God forbid. Or giving first car a lap down their lap back. Or constant yellow flags/pace cars for “debris on the track”. Or Kyle Petty as commentator… (shudders)

Max Johnson

Sounds like NBC coverage.

Shelby Forehand

Nascar was great before the little Dildo took over. His daddy is spinning in his grave.

Junipero Mariano

The comment by Bernie saying that Liberty is in it to male money is true, of course. That’s what businesses do. What Carey seems to be stating is that LM has a vision (for good or bad) for what they want to see happen. This contrasts to CVC, which seemed to just give Bernie a pile of money, let him do his thing and wait for the return on investment. I don’t think Bernie was disliking it, he just didn’t expect them to be this involved.

B1

I am just glad to see that Bernie is finally getting a suitable companion in Rich Uncle Pennybags aka Monopoly Man. At ripe young age of 85 and with access to Liberty Media’s coffers the real fun is just about to begin for everyone’s favorite octogenarian :)

Trans Batwoman ;)

If F1 goes the way of trashcar then I’m out. However if they develop another floating F1 race in the US, perhaps a road course in tandem with COTA, whilst maintaining the historical Euro races then I’m all in.

Although for the life of me I can’t remember the last time American investors got their hands on anything and actually improved it. . . .

Negative Camber

I’ll have to think about that one too…Hmmm. I do agree that a moving road race would be a cool idea. Miami, Long Beach, etc. Might be interesting to see if a promotion group could handle the roving race and work details with municipalities to make that happen over a 5-10 year stretch.

Clayton Brown

I’ve thought about something like this before. Realistically, you could ensure that you don’t run a circuit the same way 2 years in a row. If you ran it in the summer last year, run in in the winter the next. Or, run it backwards. It’s more exciting to see the teams fine tuning the set ups (instead of re-using last years data) and more exiting seeing drivers learn a track they haven’t driven before (or at least haven’t driven in the last 5 years). But I could certainly see where the “Brazilian GP” would be at a different Brazilian… Read more »