Today Friday marks one hundred days since Liberty completed their take over Formula One. New leadership should be judged after the first 100 days, and like we seen in America these past 100 days have seen almost a revolution in the way the sport has changed.
To be honest I’ve seen more change in the way the sport operates over the last 100 days than since I’ve seen since I started following the sport. Bernie himself has admitted he doesn’t like the way Liberty are ‘giving away’ free content by social media.
Bernie said the sport needed three people to replace him as the sports ringmaster. The team, headed up by Chase Carey with Sean Bradges and Ross Brawn are seeming to work well together. They are more open with what they want the sport to be going forward.
On the day of the takeover, Liberty set out four points
- Race Experience
These are long term goals, but I’ve seen the second point the digital part of this we have seen. Online there is more use of YouTube, Twitter and Facebook, where there are highlights packages of every session.
This gives better access for the fans and people who can’t afford Sky or pay tv. One of the questions, I think Liberty are facing going forward do these exclusive pay TV rights work in terms of growing the sport.
We are still early on in the Liberty era, but we are seeing a shift in the way the drivers can interact with the fans online. Liberty has issued the first social media guidelines for the drivers and teams, we are seeing more video and pictures from teams.
While Liberty can’t take much credit for the great start to this season, I think that they are happy with the product they have brought from CVC and can ‘Make F1 Great Again’.
Why 100 Days
The idea of 100 Days came from the thirty-second president of America Franklin D. Roosevelt, although he was referring to the 100-day session of congress.
Nowadays the term 100 Days is copied around the world as a measure of a president or prime minister of their successes and accomplishments when the power and influence are at their greatest.
observations on the first 100 Days
- I feel from watching and reading the sport there is more open.
- The power of Bernie Ecclestone has been weakened he has very little now to do with the sport on a day to day basis.
- The sport has been the centre
What does Liberty want to do
- They want the drivers to be the stars of the sport and tell their stories.
- Turn Formula One into a wider week-long event, Carey used the term ‘twenty-one superbowls’.
Liberty is in the 100 Day honeymoon at the moment they know they need to reform the way the sports payment system. They will begin to discuss this in the coming weeks, but this may be hard and a tough battle.
Liberty wants a model where teams don’t get the additional payments and normalising the way the sport pays the teams. This I think will be a really hard battle as the so-called big four (Ferrari, Mercedes, Red Bull and Renault) will want to protect their interests.
But for the smaller teams, they are struggling to make money which means they aren’t able to compete at the front or throughout the season.
Liberty wants more races and to protect the core European and Americas races. We know for a fact that F1 doesn’t make money for the promoters so if they want more races they need to make them profitable for the promoters.
I think that race fees are too high for European circuits. We know that for Silverstone, they have spiralling costs every year and they are struggling to make money. Carey has made it clear “we will have a British Grand Prix!”
Ross Brawn has been put in charge of easing the regulations and that takes time. But, this can’t really I feel happen until after the FIA Presidential Election at the end of the year.
I think in the election campaign that this could be a key debate, as Formula One looks to loosen the grip. But, Liberty’s goal will be looking at the future what kind of Formula One do we want?
A – An engine formula
B – An aero formula
It may sound simple but we know this will be a heated debate.
However, teams and Liberty want a more even sport. But they all want to protect their own interests as teams and as the owner. Anyone who has an advantage will naturally want to protect it, but teams have a vested interest anyway.
Another idea which will continue is the budget cap. This for me divides me as I want a sport which is fair for all, but fear a sport in which a team says ‘We have upgrades, but we can’t bring them because we have hit the cap!’
We can judge Liberty on having a good first 100 days, but these changes will take time to bed in and come in. Liberty is committed I feel for the long term and could make Formula One profitable.
However, in the short term, I think investment to build the events up into these Superbowl’s will see profits fall. But, Liberty is freeing up the sport more. As for the next 100 Days, expect more tests for Liberty over the renegotiation of the post-2020 Concorde Agreement!