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Liberty’s 2021 F1 overhaul will make sponsor situation “healthier” – Brown

2021 F1 season

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McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown says he expects it will become easier for Formula 1 teams to find sponsorship as Liberty Media’s planned overhaul will make the sport “healthier”.

F1’s commercial rights holder presented its 2021 plans to teams at the Bahrain Grand Prix weekend, since when they have been in discussions over how they will be implemented. Some aspects of the proposals have changed, notably plans to overhaul the engine rules.

But Brown said he still expects F1 CEO Chase Carey to deliver on other key changes such as the introduction of a budget cap.

“Chase has said he’s going to implement what he’s proposed,” said Brown. “There’s been a lot of work done on the details between Bahrain and now what’s in the cost cap, what’s not in the cost cap. So there’s been some some fine-tuning. But I’m confident, he’s given us his word that that’s what he’s going to follow through on.

“I think that’s why Liberty bought the sport, because they knew when they implement 2021 and beyond that the sport will become much healthier for the fans, the more fans we have the healthier our sponsorship will be, our TV ratings will be, tracks etc… So I think they have a plan and I expect them to execute on it.”

While some F1 figures are growing concerned at the rate of progress Liberty is making, Brown believed patience is needed. “I think all of our collective lack of patience is who we are as Formula One,” he said.

“But actually if we knew definitively what was going on tomorrow not a lot changes the following day. We kind of know what’s coming.

“We’re all eager to get it wrapped up. I think that will happen at some point next year and we just want to see what’s been proposed [being] implemented.”

But Haas team principal Guenther Steiner said he is growing concerned about the need to prepare for a potentially extensive rewrite of F1’s technical, sporting and commercial regulations.

“At the moment it’s still a lot of talk but no real facts on the table,” said Steiner. “Next year in January we need to get something otherwise we cannot get there.

“For us ’21 starts next year, it’s not starting – like in any other industry – the year before. You need to start next year to look at what we need to do because it looks like the rules are changing dramatically and we need to get prepared for it. Even if the cost cap comes that means you need to plan beforehand so you don’t have to make decisions which are not good.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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12 comments on “Liberty’s 2021 F1 overhaul will make sponsor situation “healthier” – Brown”

  1. No Zak, building a fast car is how you get eager sponsors.

      1. Which is why Mercedes have just 4 on the car (other than Pirelli and themselves – Petronas, Tommy Hilfiger, Epson and Qualcomm).

  2. No, it won’t be any easier as the exposure sponsors will get will not rise. The exposure gets less and less as F1 turns more and more to pay tv. F1s own streaming channel will not help to get more (casual) viewers.

    Free-to-air tv (or may be using an exisiting streaming platform like Netflix or Amazon) is what results in more exposure and thus more sponsors willing to invest in F1.

    1. @silfen True. Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board said the same thing in Forbes.

    2. @silfen , spot on, here in sweden it costs almost 40eur a month to get acess to F1. Which only the interested people pays. they try squeeze all the money out of the current audience, but they never thought out how to get new people in. When I was a kid in the 90s it was on free to air TV / On normal channels, and thats how i started watching it, and Le Mans, and Moto GP etc. The world i very different today of course, but I would say its even more important to be easily available since there is som many other things that fighting for peoples attention nowdays.

    3. Yes next year we have only one race on FTA tv in the UK, probably the last ever Silverstone GP.
      The mainstream UK tv audience will drop by between 50 and 70%. Supposedly we shall have highlights on Channel 4 again but even more delayed than this year. In fact I did not bother to watch two of the highlights programs as the results and race reports were already out in the public domain before the highlights were due to start. (Channel 4 have lost Karun Chandock to Sky as well.)
      So in no sense does this become more attractive to sponsors, knowing their opportunities to view will get less. Ok the UK is just one market but they did the same in Italy this year and suffered a falling viewing figures. However the UK is the home of the motor racing world, France may have had the first races but most teams are based in the UK.

  3. I would like to see how 2019 and how possible changes for 2020 would be received.
    By now, minor changes were taken as a kidnap negotiation.
    Mercedes: nobody touches my engine; RB: nobody touches my aero; Ferrari: nobody touches my money.
    Nothing at the moment shows that 2021 would bring us new cars and competition.
    The new F1 motto could be: improving into the worst.

    1. kidnap negotiation.
      Mercedes: nobody touches my engine; RB: nobody touches my aero; Ferrari: nobody touches my money.

      Ha ha, priceless summary!

      1. Team Stroll: Nobody touches my race seat; Haas: Nobody touches my Ferrari; McLaren: Nobody touches us with a bargepole

  4. I’m still open to what Liberty has in mind, but i have to say some of the ideas have been a Little worrying. But time will tell.

  5. Changing the engine regs will require huge spending by the teams as does changing the aero regs. If you want competition to get close you must allow the smaller teams time to catch up. The pace of development of smaller teams is slower, they do not have the ability to work on several versions of the same thing in parallel, they cannot afford the numbers of top grade engineers.
    In addition, with Liberty shoehorning more races in each season, teams will be duplicating travelling team members, as the season has got too long for for one set of people to do all the races, they are exhausted by half way, and obviously this looses efficiency and increases the likelihood of mistakes. Thus while Liberty try to Americanise the sport the teams are suffering the costs.
    One might ask how it is that Liberty seem to be re-writing the rules when it is very clearly the FIA’s job and responsibility. One might also ask why a duplicate FIA is established in Switzerland, or why Road safety and Motability now seems to be the main FIA purpose. Where is the promised FIA vice president in full time charge of F1?

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