Liberty Media Buy Formula One
The US media firm Liberty Media has confirmed they are buying formula one for £3.3bn subject to regulators approving the deal. The announcement ends years of speculation about the ownership of the company.
Berine Ecclestone will remain as chief executive but Chase Carey, vice-chairman of 21st Century Fox, will become the new chairman. Liberty has stakes in several sports and entertainment businesses, including the Atlanta Braves Major League Baseball club.
First the group owns by John Malone will take a minority stake and if regulators approve the deal a full takeover will happen with the total transaction values the firm at $8bn but includes $4.1bn worth of F1’s debt.
Liberty Media is buying the stake from the private equity firm CVC Capital. CVC has held a stake for the past decade but sold some of its holding in 2012.
Caret “I greatly admire Formula One as a unique global sports entertainment franchise attracting hundreds of millions of fans each season from all around the world.”
Liberty’s vision for F1
Liberty Media has outlined their vision for Formula One following there takeover of the sport.
The group has outline the main areas of focus will be in the next few years. “Big Opportunity at Formula One” was the title of the document. Liberty highlights the “opportunity to develop the sport for benefit of all stakeholders (fans, teams, partners, shareholders)”, before narrowing it down to five select opportunities
There key points are
- Increase promotion and marketing of F1 as a sport and brand
- Enhance distribution of content, especially in digital
- Establish broader range of commercial partners, including sponsorship
- Evolve race calendar
- Leverage Liberty’s expertise in live events and digital monetisation
Speaking to the media today the new chairman John Carey said “in terms of developing markets, clearly new markets are opportunities as a global sport, and we’re excited about that, to grow the sport, expand the sport in places like the Americas and Asia.”
“But I want to be clear that, certainly, the established markets — the home and foundation of Formula One is Europe in particular — are of critical importance.
You can read more on the deal here
Deal will attract younger audience – Button
Jenson Button says the takeover by Liberty Media will help the sport attract a younger audience and break into the United States.
Formula One has been lagging behind other sports in social and digtal media for years and Berine Ecclestone admits it is not his strongest, and Button hopes Liberty’s experience in the area will bring new fans to F1.
Speaking to Sky Sports Button said “I agree with Bernie that that is probably not his strong point, I don’t think he understands apps on phones so he has a lot to learn and I’m sure he will,” Button told Sky Sports News HQ.
“This will definitely help the future of the sport, most sports are going down a certain directions with apps and Formula 1 is behind in that area and getting out to a younger audience.”
Button says that the current audience is people who have been watching who started when he made his debut in 2000.
Speaking about Ecclestone remaining in the postion of CEO he said “think the continuity of Bernie being in charge day to day is exactly what it needs. He’s got quite a lot of experience of working in Formula 1 and directing the sport in the right way.”
Perez convinced to say because of Ferrari
The possibility of Sergio Perez moving to Ferrari in 2018 has convinced him to remain with Force India for Next season. Perez is believed to be the next key piece of the driver market for next season.
Perez has a contract for 2017 but his future depend on his Mexican backers concluding commercial arrangements with the team. Perez has spoken to Williams and Renault about opportunities they could offer him for next year, but sources have suggested that in the end neither could give him what he wanted.
Williams has been inconsistent with their performance this season meaning they have been fighting with his team. The other option for Perez could be Renault who want to sign a long-term deal with him. But Perez is wary because of how next year’s regulations will shake up the order.
Added to the situation is that there could be a prime vacancy at Ferrari in 2018, with Kimi Raikkonen’s current contract running out at the end of next year.
Perez has an ambitions of driving for Ferrari, and a move to the team could be significant as one of his backers Claro already backing the team. He is due to announce his future in Singapore.
Better form for Toro Rosso in Singapore
Toro Rosso will be on better form at the Singapore Grand Prix after two difficult races says there Team Principal Franz Tost. The team were expected to struggle in Monza and Spa because the team are running a 2015 Ferrari power unit.
Over this season Toro Rosso has fallen away as there power unit hasn’t seen the development like the current 2016 one. Tost told Motorsport.com “We knew from the beginning that Spa and Monza would be difficult for us because we have a one-year-old engine which was not developed.”
“This was a special situation, which we brought ourselves, and therefore we simply had to accept the consequences.
“We hope that in Singapore that we can show a better performance and we can come back to where we were before, with at least one car in Q3, and scoring points. After that Malaysia, Japan and America should be OK for us.
Tost says the teams 2017 car has been there focus this year and they switch over earlier. Next season the team will return to Ferrari power unit and they are optimistic they will have a competitive car next season.
Tost says there is no hurry for a decision on the second driver, with Pierre Gasly’s strong GP2 form having made him into a candidate for Daniil Kvyat’s seat. “No decision has been made yet from Red Bull’s side. I don’t expect any decision before the end of September, or October.”
Criticism will not affect Verstappen – Horner
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says recent controversies about Max Verstappen are driving style are not affecting mental strength, and insist the Dutchman will not change his approach for anybody.
Verstappen was placed in the firing line after his aggressive driving style at the Belgian Grand Prix by both Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen. As well as criticism from the pair, with former world champion Jacques Villeneuve also attacked him ahead of the Italian Grand Prix weekend.
Despite the criticism Horner says that Verstappen has been unruffled by recent events – and says that things have only served to make him stronger.
When asked by Motorsport.com about how the events of Belgium and Italy impacted on Verstappen Horner said“I haven’t seen any effect on him at all. Obviously he takes it all on board. He is a young guy that is going through different experiences, who is growing and learning.”
“But like any 18-year-old, it is water off a duck’s back. He is focused on his racing. He is who he is, and he is just getting on with it. He is not changing just because someone says he should.”
Horner added his inner strength is like all the super drivers. After Monza where he had a strong overtakes on Sergio Perez there was no evidence that he has toned down his aggression.
“He drove a very good race,” said Horner. “He made some great overtaking moves, particularly on Sergio Perez, and I don’t think his approach today has been any different to any other races that he has done.”
Haas to bring final upgrades in Singapore
Haas will bring their final upgrades of the season for next weekends Singapore Grand Prix so they can pass Toro Rosso. After a strong start to the season the team dipped off until Belgium.
At Spa Romain Grosjean scored the teams first points since the Austrian Grand Prix. Also the team has had renewed pace in Belgium and Italy, with team boss Guenther Steiner calling the latter a missed opportunity to score points.
When asked if the pace at the last two races was a sign of progress, Steiner Told ESPN “I think it was track-related. [Monza] and Spa we were pretty good, Spa was better. Also Hockenheim we were already a little bit ahead. We need to see if we can continue this trend in the next races.
“We have a small upgrade package for Singapore, which will carry on the whole season obviously, so that will be something to judge in Singapore.” Steiner said bring the upgrades to Singapore is a gamble but its for future races.
Steiner says the team are trying to catch Toro Rosso who are falling away and he sees no reason Haas cannot keep closing the gap.
“We will try to catch up to Toro Rosso. You need to set your goals, if you just say ‘we learn’ and set no real target it sounds a little bit too easy. Our target is to try and catch Toro Rosso. That would be a fantastic thing to do but it’s difficult” he added