Since acquiring Formula 1, parting company with long-time F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone and appointing Chase Carey, Ross Brawn and Sean Bratches as the new leadership team, Liberty Media have made several comments in the news about their desires for the sport in the future.
One of the more common and continually reported comments made is the desire to ramp up the race weekend and treat each event like a super bowl—referring to American football’s big season-ending battle between the AFC and NFC champions.
I’ve had my own reservations about this kind of approach because I personally find the NFL Super Bowl over-baked and laced with pomp and circumstance that quite honestly teeters on embarrassing. I’m not alone in those concerns as former FIA president Max Mosley also shares a concern over Liberty Media’s penchant for repeating that as a singular goal going forward.
“I think that’s easy to say, it’s not quite clear to me what that means,” Mosley said, per Reuters.
“But the Super Bowl…is that so wonderful? I don’t want to be unkind, but Americans always think they can do everything better than anybody else. And they’re not always right as a lot of recent history shows.”
He may be right in suggesting that the Super Bowl isn’t as wonderful as many in the US think it is. Is this a sporting spectacle that would resonate with Italians, Germans, French, Dutch, British, Malaysian and Australian audiences?
F1 is a global sport and what may appeal in one nation may not appeal in others. What is, perhaps, unfair is to level off at Americans suggesting a level of bravado. America is a big place with 320 million people and not all of them love the Super Bowl panache.
Mosley also felt that F1 would have done well to retain Bernie Ecclestone instead of putting him out to pasture as Chairman Emeritus.
“You’ve always got to be careful, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. But they are fully aware of that,” said Mosley.
“They (Liberty) are serious business people. Whether they can deal with everything better than they could have dealt with it using Bernie for the things he’s good at, and then doing the things that they know about, is an open question. We shall see.”
Let’s be honest, sometimes owners don’t make the best employees and F1’s new owners were always going to face a stark reality of life without Ecclestone at some point. Better to take the lumps, stubbed toes and embarrassment up front and get on with crafting the future than perpetrating confusion amongst the ranks on who is calling what shots. I suspect that is precisely why they hired Ross Brawn as he knows every facet of the sport pretty well—maybe not Ecclestone well but still, he knows where most of the bodies are buried.
Hat Tip: Reuters