Before the glitter backdrop of Singapore, the Formula One teams were allowed to continue to puzzle. For the first time after the takeover by Liberty Media, the races were reunited in the city’s passenger depot. But concrete plans of the Americans are not yet available.
TV rights, digital strategy, U.S. market, investor model –all these business fields will however be examined by Liberty Media in the utmost detail.
In the driver’s license there was at least the first rapprochement between the new owner and the teams. On the side of CEO Bernie Ecclestone and co-founder Donald Mackenzie of the previous main shareholder CVC, the new Formula One CEO Chase Carey made his appearance. Only when will the reform process start?
He is interested in sports,”Mercedes Motorsport Manager Toto Wolff said after a chat. The first thing Carey said to him was to start asking more questions. This is the right approach for me,”Wolff continued, praising the business sense of the future strong Formula One boss.
Wishes for better money distribution
“When you buy something, it is usually like listening, learning, sharing and acting. I think that all these phases are now happening,”Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari team leader Maurizio Arrivabene had explained at the tournament-based press conference of the racing drivers on Friday before the visit.
The team leaders had already expressed their wishes, which should bring about a reform of Formula One. More money for the races, lower prices and a better distribution of the money to all. But that is unlikely to happen anytime soon,”said Vettel’s former Red Bull team leader Christian Horner. Equal distribution of profits is essential for clean team leader Monisha Kaltenborn.” It is high time something changed about the system,”she insisted.
Ecclestone is the system. And the Zampano looks forward to its future as managing director of the series with tremendous serenity.” Thank God, I don’t need the money, I don’t need a job,”the 85-year-old assured me in an interview with Sky. And if things happen to be going in a direction that I don’t think is right, but I can also be wrong, then I will definitely disappear.”
Ecclestone will be happy
Liberty Media wants Ecclestone to moderate the transition for another three years. When asked whether he should work with the new Formula One CEO Carey, the British used to answer lapidar: “All I have to do is die and pay my taxes. Beyond that, I don’t have to do anything.”
TV-Tycoon John Malone’s company will certainly put more emphasis on digital media, an area that 85-year-old Ecclestone has always left behind and thus ignored the potential of young fans. In addition, the new owner should try to increase the revenues with the formula-1 moving pictures. On the part of the race promoters, who are growing stronger under Ecclestone’s prize screw, there are no increase rates in it.
The teams are open to a possible participation of the races in the series.” Without the teams there is no formula 1. Therefore, minority participation would make sense,”said Horner. Liberty Media has not announced any details here either, but the racing venues should be able to buy shares in the future.
Reforms can wait for themselves
The rampant high-gloss Formula 1 product is ready for a time trade at least from the point of view of the team leaders.” The world is changing and sometimes it is good to bring fresh wind in,”Mercedes pilot Nico Rosberg, who, like so many drivers, wants the new owner to place more emphasis on a young fan base.
“You probably don’t have to reinvent the wheel, because sport is one of the few successful in the world,”said Wolff,”but perhaps Liberty Media can help us tap new sources of income.”
Deep-seated changes will not be possible in the short term. Ecclestone will remain in office for three more years, and there are also existing contracts. This includes the Concorde Agreement. This basic contract governs the distribution of marketing revenue, the number of teams involved and the responsibilities for the regulatory framework. The agreement between the races, the FIA World Association and the marketer FOM is still valid until 2020.