Liberty Media not looking to sell F1 – Maffei

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In the round-up: Liberty Media’s president has assured F1’s owners are not looking to sell the sport

In brief

Liberty Media not looking to sell F1

Formula 1 commercial rights holder Liberty Media is not looking to sell the series, its president and CEO Greg Maffei has said, following speculation earlier this year Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund was considering buying into it.

“Anyone says that our friends the Saudis are going to buy it next week or something like that, if anybody knows us, they should know that’s just not in our cards,” Maffei told the Moffett Nathanson Media and Communications Summit.

He said Liberty still sees opportunities to increase the income it makes from the series. “We are very enthused about where Formula 1 is now but [also] where it’s going as well. You look at the big revenue streams there, all have good direction. In broadcasting we have increased fans and we have increased distributors who want to push the product, including new digital distributors and the like. We have promoters who are our partners.

“The gate was probably [25%] up in Miami. That’s not unique. They’re selling out everywhere, particularly the high-end experiences, the Paddock Clubs, all at better prices. So we are able to get upticks in what we get paid. We have been able to add a few races and there’s maybe a little more room left there. And then sponsorship has grown dramatically. We’ve opened up the number of global sponsors. I think we’ve gone from five to 12 of our biggest sponsor types.

“We are continuing to see traction there and I think we’re well set up. We have a new opportunity with what we’re doing in Las Vegas where we will be the promoter and we have a opportunity to learn about something and hopefully set the bar.”

Verstappen headlines Redline simrace

Reigning Formula 1 world champion Max Verstappen will headline a special all-star simracing event on Sunday, hosted by his Team Redline simracing team mates.

After this weekend’s Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix was cancelled due to the impact of flooding in the region, the simracing team will stream a special ‘Real Racers Never Quit’ event online on Sunday. Verstappen will join his Redline team mates with guest racers including Formula E champion Antonio Felix da Costa, F2 champion Felipe Drugovich, Australian Supercars racer Shane van Gisbergen, F2 racer Jack Doohan and many Red Bull junior drivers such as Jak Crawford, Isack Hadjar and Ayumu Iwasa.

The event will begin tomorrow at 2:30pm UK time on Team Redline’s Twitch channel.

Sato sets new Indy benchmark before qualifying

Takuma Sato was the fastest in the final day of practice at Indianapolis ahead of today’s first day of qualifying.

The Chip Ganassi driver set a fastest lap speed of 234.753mph – the fastest lap time achieved in practice since Arie Luyendyk in 1996. Marco Andretti was second quickest, with Rinus VeeKay third and last year’s winner Marcus Ericsson fourth.

Qualifying for the Indy 500 begins at 4pm UK time.

F1 to donate €1m to flood relief

Formula 1 will make a donation of €1m to the Emilia-Romagna Region’s Agency for Territorial Safety and Civil Protection to help people impacted by the flooding in the region.

The gift matches that pledged by Ferrari yesterday. F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali, who is from the region, offered his thoughts on behalf of the sport to people affected.

“The situation facing the communities in the region is terrible, but I know that the resilience and passion of the people in the region, like so many across Italy, will prevail through this crisis,” Domenicali said. “We must do everything we can to support them at this difficult time and that is why we are donating to help support the relief efforts on the ground.”

Anyone who wishes to donate to the fund can do so online.

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Comment of the day

With the cancellation of Imola meaning F1 will now race at five consecutive street tracks, @illusive wants more traditional circuits on the calendar…

What’s with F1’s latest obsession with street tracks, every new track they talked about adding is a street track. I want Istanbul Park, Shanghai, Buddh, Sepang and the S korean circuit back on the calendar not another street track.

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Ned Flanders, Rui Pinto, Thed4N1El, Dirk and Andy!

On this day in motorsport

  • On this day in 1973 Jackie Stewart won the first Belgian Grand Prix to be held at the Zolder circuit


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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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23 comments on “Liberty Media not looking to sell F1 – Maffei”

  1. Yes (@come-on-kubica)
    20th May 2023, 0:18

    Completely agree with the cotd – sick of these soulless Street circuits. No enjoyment in it whatsoever at least Monaco has the heritage and an amazing quali.

    1. I have the opposite reaction — I find Baku, Jeddah, Hanoi, Vegas, and even Miami to have more character to offer than most of that list of Tilkedromes. I like the direction that F1 and Tilke’s son are taking with this new breed of street circuits, with semipermanent circuits with reduced runoff and some more extreme street layouts like Vegas and Baku. Not that I have any desire to see Monaco or Singapore drop off the calendar, but I like the current variety.

      1. Tilke or Neo Tilke, the same soulless concepts, especially your modern list is only interesting when crashes happen. Otherwise they are the pinnacle of boredom.

        Ricardo Pina who designed Portimao shows that its possible to make good modern tracks.

        Even doh none of them come close to the classics, and its multinational financial demands or terrible technical regulations that have made the classic tracks unattractive to race F1 on.

        1. Ricardo Pina who designed Portimao shows that its possible to make good modern tracks.

          Yes! But as always some criticism has to go to the cars, as well. F1 cars do best at tracks that play to their strengths. Tracks like Silverstone, Spa-Francorchamps with lots of high speed corners. Most “Tilkedromes” are actually pretty fun with slower cars (aside from the obligatory endless straight leading into a hairpin, a must for F1 cars).

      2. @markzastrow not sure how you can claim that Hanoi and Las Vegas have more character, given Hanoi has never been used and is now semi-abandoned, whilst there have been no races in Las Vegas yet.

        1. some racing fan
          21st May 2023, 9:44

          Assetto Corsa

    2. some racing fan
      21st May 2023, 9:51

      I personally don’t mind Baku or Miami (even though the latter needs some layout changes), and Vegas looks damn fast and a very passing-friendly circuit. But on the other hand, Jeddah is an abhorrent, shockingly dangerous circuit that makes some circuits from the 1970s seem safe in comparison, and it is hosted in a country with an abomination of a government that is at war with an entity that puts F1 people and event attendees’ lives at risk. Jeddah would be interesting if it was a permanent circuit with wide run offs- but it’s not. And Vietnam is not an appropriate place for an F1 GP- it would great for MotoGP, Superbikes and other motorcycle racing, but not F1 or any other form of high-tech car racing.

      1. John Jacob Jinkleheimer Smith
        21st May 2023, 22:11

        Thank you for making me feel (sort of) younger.
        The first F1 race I attended was Watkins Glen in 1969 when Jochin Rindt (the first posthumous F1 champion) won his first race.
        I agree with you totally. I also think F1 has become more self-serving politically, focusing on the almighty $ which is allowing races to be held in countries that abhor human rights; you know, those in a desert. Then there’s the fact that F1 bans cigarette advertising yet allows vaping products free reign with no data to show they’re harmless addictive substances. Hypocrites all, and the management of F1 will have to be changed if you want anything better than the self-serving garbage that the FIA thinks is what you want. You want more wealthy celebrities interviewed or more racing news reports? Rule 1? Lose David Croft and hire someone that isn’t a screaming idiot when a race starts or a brain-dead burned out ex F1 wannabe like Martin Brundle. Then hire someone competent like Dick Bergen, Alan Bestwick or Peter Windsor.

  2. Moana Pasifika
    20th May 2023, 0:49

    Never true till it’s been officially denied.
    Watch that space.

  3. What’s with F1’s latest obsession with street tracks, every new track they talked about adding is a street track. I want Istanbul Park, Shanghai, Buddh, Sepang and the S korean circuit back on the calendar not another street track.

    Of course, I agree with this comment but you have to understand Liberty does not care about the racing, they care about the money and, unfortunately, street circuits are paying the big bucks. It’s not sport to them, it’s stock price; expect F1 to follow this downward trajectory in search of profits. Las Vegas everywhere is their goal.

    1. I agree @stever. You only have to look at the article above by Liberty where F1 is referred to as ‘the product’. They don’t look upon it as a sport at all. There are few sports in the world that are effectively owned and run by media companies.

    2. some racing fan
      21st May 2023, 9:59

      To be honest they are managing it a hell of a lot better than CVC- and that was a really bad idea to sell to a private equity firm who only cared about how much money they could milk from the sport without actually doing anything to effectively market it. They put a longtime Ferrari player in Domenicali in charge of the commercial side of the sport, because (as flawed as he is) he understands the sport better than most people, and they have done such an amazing job marketing it over here in the US that F1 is bigger here than it ever has been- the Long Beach and Watkins Glen days make F1 seem niche in comparison.

      If Liberty sells, a lot of F1 fans will be lamenting the sale and wishing Liberty had never sold it. Be thankful it was not sold to the Saudis- that would have been even more outrageous than when Ecclestone sold it to CVC.

  4. some racing fan
    20th May 2023, 3:34

    Miami is NOT a street circuit. It is a rare and unique type of temporary circuit that has permanent, dedicated asphalt within private land, and then the temporary safety aspects of the track are installed just for that weekend, and then taken down again… like a street circuit, hence the misconception everyone seems to have about it. No part of the circuit uses public roads accessible at any time. So it’s kind of a hybrid circuit.

    1. @some racing fan
      Indeed, only a temporary circuit rather than a street one per se & similarly, Jeddah Corniche Circuit is also somewhat hybrid since it doesn’t get regular traffic use either, except maybe for the back stretch as that portion already existed before, but mostly a semi-permanent circuit.
      Concerning Miami Autodrome, regular traffic can cross a small part before the Chicane & T11 + possibly use the back straight for getting into the stadium parking area like before, but other than these, no regular traffic use, yes.
      While Jeddah & Miami circuits are a hybrid or semi-permanent, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is kind of semi-temporary, with the track itself permanent but featuring some temporary stuff & getting some road car use for certain purposes + running & walking, but not regular traffic use like the full-blown street circuits.

      1. some racing fan
        21st May 2023, 1:17

        Montreal is more of a public rural road circuit that just so happens to be in a public park in the middle of a large city. The roads used for the circuit are largely used for recreation- cycling, running, etc. because there are direct access roads to the casino there. I don’t know much or don’t care to know much about the Jeddah circuit.

  5. Somewhat old news already, but not seeing a need for selling for the sake of selling is understandable.

    Good moves by both the F1 organization & Ferrari, not that a million (be that in euros, dollars, or pounds) is a massive loss for them, given how big these organizations are, especially when that’s for a good cause.

    Hopefully, Tomoki Nojiri gets well soon – an unfortunate situation, but fortunately, nothing serious.
    I’m looking forward to seeing how well his substitute Hiroki Otsu, a former Team Mugen regular, fares against Lawson & otherwise.
    Additionally, good thing this weekend already had other motorsports, including Formula Regional EU by Alpine in Montmelo, scheduled so that I can fill the Emilia-Romagna GP cancellation with something.

    I’ve already replied to the COTD, but just a general trend towards FE, i.e., bringing the series closer to people with easier track accessibility, etc.

  6. I want Istanbul Park, Shanghai, Buddh, Sepang and the S korean circuit back on the calendar

    Things must be bad if we’re feeling nostalgic for the Tilkedromes 😂

    1. What do u mean? Sepang and Istanbul Park were one of the best tracks in the calendar.

    2. some racing fan
      21st May 2023, 9:43

      Yeah. Of those I would only want Istanbul Park and maybe Buddh. And if F1 goes back to South Korea, they should consider the Inje Speedium- it’s much closer to Seoul and in a very pretty part of the country.

  7. Gad, could Maffei sound more like a corporate drone just spouting marketing catchwords? I mean, I get that sports in general is big business, but I just don’t see a good future for F1 with these people in charge, I just don’t.

  8. What’s with F1’s latest obsession with street tracks

    The answer is always the same: money!

    The venues pay more. Liberty and the teams love that.
    The people show up and the events sell out. The hosts love that.
    The races tend to be chaotic. The average viewer loves that.

    People who care about wing end plate aerodynamics and the merits of how Spa-Francorchamp’s undulating terrain affects tyre wear are a tiny minority.

  9. Referring to F1 as “the product” is abhorrent and disgusting IMO.

    I suppose we all know deep down it’s not a real sport though after the 2008 Singapore GP and the 2021 Abu Dhabi GP.

    1. Or the 1999 Malaysian GP, etc. F1 has balanced it’s business and sporting side for decades. And all in all it has done so very well indeed. Its popularity is far in excess of other forms of motorsport, and it has been able to keep manufacturers invested.

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