Valentino Rossi, Lewis Hamilton, Valencia, 2019

Formula 1 owner Liberty Media tipped to buy Moto GP for £3.4 billion

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In the round-up: Reports claim Liberty Media, which owns Formula One Management, is looking to buy Moto GP owner Dorna Sports.

In brief

F1 owners tipped to buy Moto GP

Liberty Media is reported to be closing on a €4 billion (£3.4 billion) purchase of Dorna, but may face an investigation by competition regulators if it does, the Financial Times reports.

CVC Capital Partners had to sell its rights to Moto GP in 2006 when it bought F1. Liberty Media acquired F1 from CVC in 2017 for $8 billion (£6bn).

F1 generated £2.5bn in revenue last year, an increase of 25% over the previous year.

IndyCar starts three-day test

IndyCar will begin a three-day test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course today involving a mixture of hybrid and non-hybrid cars. The series intends to introduce hybrid power later this season, following the Indianapolis 500 in May.

For today only, all cars on track will have hybrid power. Romain Grosjean (Juncos Hollinger), Tom Blomqvist (Meyer Shank), Jack Harvey (Coyne), Graham Rahal (RLL), Sting Ray Robb (Foyt) and Rinus VeeKay (Carpenter) are due to run.

Steiner becomes Miami Grand Prix ambassador

Guenther Steiner
Steiner has another post-Haas gig
Former Haas team principal Guenther Steiner will act as an ambassador for the Miami Grand Prix in May. Besides his eight years at the helm of F1’s only American team, Steiner also has a composites business in the USA.

Miami Grand Prix president Tyler Epp said Steiner “has become a household name with F1 fans of all ages,” thanks in part to his celebrated appearances in Drive to Survive, “and is a perfect ambassador for our race.”

“Having someone with his experience, reputation and candor attached to our event will undoubtedly add to the excitement and elevate race weekend to a new level,” Epp added. Steiner has also joined German F1 broadcast RTL as a pundit since leaving Haas.

Brabham backs Heuzenroeder

Former Formula 1 driver and Le Mans 24 Hours winner David Brabham is assisting 18-year-old Australian racer Patrick Heuzenroeder, who relocated to Britain last year. Heuzenroeder has been signed to Brabham Group’s mentoring programme for the upcoming season.

“I know that the path to Formula 1 will be a challenging one, but Patrick has speed and a great attitude and he wants to learn,” said Brabham. “He has all the attributes needed to succeed in motorsport.” Heuzenroeder will race for JHR in the GB3 championship, which begins at Oulton Park this weekend.

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Comment of the day

Formula 1’s plans for its next chassis regulations has a familiar feel:

2009: we need less downforce!
2017: we need much more downforce!
2022: we need different downforce!
2026: we need less downforce!

F1’s eternal rollercoaster.

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Casanova, Lazerfx, Macca, The Genuine Jim and Marc Ferring!

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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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48 comments on “Formula 1 owner Liberty Media tipped to buy Moto GP for £3.4 billion”

  1. Ah great. Moto GP is fun. It’s not broken. Now we get to be told that it has to ‘grow’ and ‘evolve’ and ‘be relevant to our changing world’, when really it’s just going to become a slave to profit maximization, be less fun, and spend most of its time explaining how great it is (‘the pinnacle’ seems to be the popular term) instead of actually being great. YAY!

    1. Don’t forget the polls that will show it’s all a succes and the overwhelming majority really wants this.

      1. Don’t forget the profit increases will be touted as good for the sport

  2. Coventry Climax
    28th March 2024, 0:13

    I’m not religious, but it’s worth a prayer asking for Liberty not being allowed to buy MotoGP.
    If they do buy it, I’ll switch to speed knitting or any such.

    1. I actually think MotoGP needs a bit of a refresh, and Liberty seems to know how to make motorsport attract more views.

      Current races (in the top class) don’t really get anywhere near as exciting as they were 5-10 years ago. The star-power has faded a lot lately, with Rossi retiring, Marquez close to retiring or Quartararo being so far behind lately. Also, Honda and Yamaha are a shadow of what they used to be. And for a competition that is supposed to be a world championship, there’s just too concentrated around Spanish or Italian teams & riders.

      1. Coventry Climax
        29th March 2024, 13:11

        I date from well before that, say Hailwood, Agostini, Sheene, Rainey, Doohan etc.

        There is one consistent error in the way people think, and it’s this:

        Current races (in the top class) don’t really get anywhere near as exciting as they were 5-10 years ago.

        I could argue that it’s even more than that, but that’s irrelevant. What is relevant, is: So what changed?

        Now instead of undoing what has changed and messed things up, people yell for more and more things to change, thinking that will ‘fix’ things, while in reality, that will only mess up things even more.

        I doubt that’s the way Liberty will go – with anything they get their hands on.

    2. Oh yeah, you wouldn’t want them to buy MotoGP. Liberty has destroyed F1! What a failure it is now.

  3. Please Liberty Media leave MotoGP alone. Isn’t ruining F1 bad enough?

    1. Please God, no.

      Dorna has MotoGP running like clockwork. Everything about it makes sense, there is competition between the various teams and riders, and we almost always get great racing.

      Liberty are an absolute plague, destined to ruin everything.

    2. Does this mean they will have to have street races too?! Like Liberty’s pet-track Vegas?

  4. I’ll echo the 2 other commenters and hope the rumours of Liberty buying MotoGP are inaccurate. Although it would be quite ironic if Liberty buys Moto then gets rid of Sprint races!

  5. RandomMallard
    28th March 2024, 1:41

    I hope the regulators do have the strength to stand up to Liberty in this instance. Regardless of whether you think Liberty is good for the sport or not (I know I now certainly feel the latter), I don’t think it’s a good idea for competition reasons for the 2 largest championships of 2 and 4 wheel racing respectively to be owned by the same body…

    1. +1 exactly this!

    2. Cathal O’Brien
      29th March 2024, 12:07

      Why what’s the problem with the same owners?

  6. Glad I’m not the only one who thinks Liberty owning Moto GP is a bad idea.

    1. There will surely be a few people who think it’s a good idea, but I’d assume 95% will be against this decision.

      As it’s the case I don’t follow any other sport but f1 (and if it continues like this I’m not gonna follow any sport, period), so if they want to buy motogp, so be it, but from what I heard motogp has a lot of competition, obviously overtaking is easier and is in a much better place than f1, so based on what I’ve seen in f1, it can only go downhill if liberty media buys it.

  7. Stay away! On a different planet would be ideal… I can’t wait for the F1 profits to (inevitably) go down, and to see you abandon that ship as well.

  8. Re COTD: I can see your point, in fact it’s quite annoying to see that the regulatory changes always try to address what they caused 4-5 years before.

    But let me point just one thing: 2017 changes were asked by… who? We all knew more downforce was a massive mistake and we are still paying the price of these big heavy cars. That was an awful regulatory change and it was sad that 2022 didn’t address that point.

    We need MASSIVELY less downforce and MASSIVELY less tyre grip. We need the power to be impossible to address by tyres at the exit of a corner. Make the grip more like a wet race (that, incidentally, tend to be the best race conditions).

    Much less size (length, width), much less weight, much less tyre print, much more braking distance, much less downforce…

    1. @diezcilindros we had people frequently whining on this site, and on many other sites, that the cars were “too slow” and needed to be made faster to “sort out the best drivers” before the changes were made.

    2. …put ’em on bikes! (Don’t tell Liberty)

    3. @diezcilindros But let me point just one thing: 2017 changes were asked by… who?

      The 2017 regulation changes came about as there was a lot of complaining that the cars looked too slow & that drivers were having an easy time of driving them as the cars been a few seconds slower than they had been a few years earlier had made them less physical to drive (Something the drivers themselves were also talking about).

      The thought process behind the 2017 regulations was to make the cars faster, more spectacular to watch & more physical to drive.

      At the time some of the fan surveys that were been conducted by both the FIA & GPDA were showing this was a direction that most fans were in favour of which is why they ultimately opted to go ahead with them.

      At the time they knew that increasing downforce would make them harder to follow but it was hoped that the increased mechanical grip coming from the larger tires & return to 2m wide cars (Which produced a bit more downforce from the floor/diffuser) would offset that to a degree. It was also hoped that the more physical cars would also open up the possibilities for drivers making mistakes which would also improve the racing. Additionally the wider cars/larger tires were producing more drag which in turn created a larger slip-stream & more effective DRS which was again expected to help with overtaking.

      On that last point. Going back to 1998 when the cars were narrowed from 2m to 1.8m one of the things the drivers complained about was that the narrower cars made racing/overtaking harder as the slipstream effect was reduced more than expected & along with the grooved tires they were also more front limited which made understeer when in the dirty air of a car ahead worse than the pre-1998 spec cars. This was something that became worse when a 4th groove was added to the front tires in 1999 & when front wings were raised in 2001 & again in 2005.

  9. I feel so sorry for all Moto GP fans. I sincerely hope they will keep their greed and quest to turn everything into a circus away from you.

  10. In terms of revenue generation, Liberty’s success was largely down to street events like Las Vegas? I could be wrong. That model is obviously not possible with MotoGP so it will be interesting to see what strategy they are looking at to expand MotoGP.

    1. My reply appeared below. With the motorsport. Sigh

  11. R.i.p. motoGP

  12. I think they’re targetting digital. I’m trying to cut down an article from a 2016 article elsewhere the predictions there have eerily mostly come to fruition. The final frontier appears to be gambling.

    It’s F1 but the business model I suspect is similar.

    Or I might try to post a link if allowed.

    Other than that let me say that I admire your passion for karting. We didn’t have that when we grew up, just “antiquated technology”

    Here goes.

    1. Interesting, makes sense. Thanks for the comments on karting. Probably pound-for-pound the best motorsport out there that no one watches :)

      1. Any pure driving really wheel to wheel does it for me too.
        Enjoy your posts.

  13. MotoGP is the highlight of my weekend.

    I’ve always loved F1 but if both are running on the same weekend it’s the MotoGP I’m actually excited about. With the F1, I dutifully watch it and (very occasionally) I’m pleasantly surprised.

    Please, keep Liberty away from MotoGP. It has all the spectacle that it needs already.

  14. notagrumpyfan
    28th March 2024, 8:16

    IMO the commercial side of F1 has improved since Liberty took over from Bernie/CVC.
    But then again my glass is always at least half full and I don’t like to complain about everything.

    Not sure though if Moto GP has as much room for improvement as F1 had.

  15. Well that’s Moto GP ruined…

  16. I’m puzzled by the widespread skepticism surrounding Liberty’s takeover of MotoGP. I’m genuinely thrilled about the introduction of electric bikes; it’s high time we address their road relevance within MotoGP. Additionally, I advocate for the elimination of grid girls and a significant increase in minority representation.

    I’m eager to witness greater diversity among commentators, including more black and female voices, as well as widespread visibility of the pride flag. Moreover, I’m excited about the implementation of more innovative elements like spec tires, development freezes, and the fantastic graphics provided by AWS.

    With these changes, MotoGP will become an even more appealing product for social media marketing. We’ll see influencers on Instagram and TikTok engaging younger generations, breathing new life into the sport.

    I forgot to mention the racing itself but that’s not important…

    1. Now this is the kind of sarcasm that gets me up in the morning :)

    2. You had me, right the way through until the end!

    3. I, for one hope that this doesn’t lead Liberty to lose sight of the mission in F1. Currently people who can drive are grossly over-represented on the grid. Do you know that even Logan Sargeant can drive a car? While that may seem fair, there is no equality of outcome between those who put blood, sweat and tears – their entire lives – into being an F1 driver, while having the talent to succeed, and someone like me who isn’t particularly bothered. In addition, it would add to the show if an inept, unskilled driver such as myself is reverse-grid qualified in front of the likes of George Russell. If he thought he had a hard time against Alonso, wait until he drives against someone even less capable of close racing than himself. Johnny Herbert will have a conniption, and since by then they’ll be giving points out for participation, his head will explode. Every cloud has a silver lining!

  17. Next stop for Liberty – Indycar…

    1. @venedikov They looked at buying Indycar but it didn’t get very far as it was made clear that it wasn’t for sale.

      The insider talk is that Liberty want to invest in multiple different categories with the aim been to put on these big motorsport superbowl weekends that feature all of them a couple times a year.

  18. Grant us freedom from Liberty. Why can’t they go after Formula E instead? I couldn’t care less about that.

    1. Now, that’s a stellar idea! Leave F1 and MotoGP alone. Liberty represents what is wrong with media and entertainment these days… blatantly clear single objective to maximise revenue with disregard for literally anything else. No other objective comes even close to the one that is called ‘increasing shareholder value’. I personally feel it was FIA’s task (you only had to do one thing!) to prevent the current situation from happening and to safeguard some sport integrity. I genuinely believe there isn’t a single co-worker at Liberty involved with F1, that actually loves F1. They might think so, but it is more the entourage and circus that they love, not the actual sporting element. It is so disrespectful.

  19. A lot of the criticism of Liberty seems a big misguided.

    Liberty has done a pretty solid job in their area of expertise. Though not perfect, they’ve improved TV coverage of the events, set the standard in online coverage that other series are now seeking to copy, made F1 available globally via F1TV for pretty fair prices (although recent hikes are a bit questionable), and expanded the calendar with more races in more parts of the world.

    Their involvement in the 2022 regulations is pretty bad; both in terms of results as in the precedence it sets, but let’s not forget that their ‘team’ was full of F1 rejects/retirees. This is very much an F1-issue as well. A big part of this problem is the FIA, under Todt’s leadership, giving away too much influence. Hopefully the new/current administration will be able to bring some of that power back to the FIA, so Liberty can focus on making TV, which they know how to do.

  20. Vote Takeover Award.

  21. MotoGP is, in my opinion, the last stand of “true” motorsport. One where the manufacturer and the driver/rider is equally important.
    Where teams develop their machines within some relatively relaxed rules and go racing. Its how motorsport started. Not with people having the same machines like F2, FE or IndyCar. They put on a great show in MotoGP, but the show comes because of the competition – it isn’t falsified or enhanced.

    MotoGP must not go the same way as F1 has, where development is effectively banned and he who starts a set of regulations on the up will simply stay there thanks to the engine lockdown rules, lack of testing and the wind tunnel/budget cap and those in charge desperately try and inject interest and the commentators have to scramble to find something interesting to say.
    Yes – the budget cap is a sensible thing to allow all teams a level playing field – but for gods sake give the teams the ability to develop and compete with each other and not simply fight to maintain the status quo. In F1, there is no chance anyone will catch RedBull before the end of this set of regulations. There is no point in pretending otherwise. Because they aren’t allowed to. There’s no testing, there’s not enough freedom within the regulations to innovate so they end up copying and you can’t beat someone by copying them when they understand what they’ve done better. I don’t begrudge Red Bull their success, or Mercedes before them – but a fool can see that F1 is in a sorry state and the lack of competition is because of the rules. It shouldn’t be allowed to happen to MotoGP as well.

  22. I hope they don’t. Even if MotoGP isn’t in the best shape with the Ducati fest, it’s still a much better product than F1.

    Liberty will certainly cather to its american audiences with bad time slots, more american events and all sorts of dumb stuff to make the product more popular to their main public like they did with F1.

  23. My sympathies to everyone connected with, or a fan of, MotoGP.

  24. Enjoy it while it lasts, MotoGP fans. “Winter is Coming” indeed…

  25. I can see the day one meeting if Liberty get in-

    ” So folks, what we need is an increase in metrics to show how we are improving the the Show ”
    Papers shuffle, eyes furtively shoot around the room, panic sets in with the realisation that they know nothing about racing…Then form the corner the room, a voice is heard..
    “Um..well.. I’ve been working on an idea”
    All eyes set upon the voice with the relieved look of someone who’s dropped their Toast and it’s landed butter side up.
    “Well…Err.. What about a system to aid overtaking… It’s a great hit with the F1 crowd…. apparently”
    “Hmm…Tell me more”
    ” We put a small retractably parachute on the back of the bikes….when another bike gets within one second it deploys.. Ive even spoken to GloboPharm, they have a Hyperactivity drug called SnailaPrix, they want to put there logo on it”
    The Boss rises from their chair, walks up to the intern and says.
    “I like it… welcome to the Company”

  26. isthatglock21
    29th March 2024, 23:43

    Thoughts & prayers with the Moto GP community

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