Liberty Media has faced a wall of criticism from Formula 1 race promoters who have expressed their displeasure at the way it is running the sport.
Promoters are unhappy at the prospect of five well-attended grand prix’s going in to this year with their contracts up at the end of 2019.
Britain, Spain, Italy, Germany and Mexico all have one-year left on their current deals, leading to unity among the majority of the promoters at a meeting of the Formula One Promoters’ Association on Monday at growing concerns the direction F1 is being taken in.
A widespread agreement on the sport switching from free-to-air coverage to Pay-TV – that is likely to impact the number of viewers – was raised, as well as certain events putting pen to paper on more financially-stable terms.
FOPA issued a statement to Liberty informing that among 16 of its members three key issues were of concern.
- It is not in the long term interest of the sport that fans lose free access to content and broadcasting
- There is lack of clarity on new initiatives in F1 and a lack of engagement with promoters on their implementation
- New races should not be introduced to the detriment of existing events although the association is encouraged by the alternative business models being offered to prospective venues.
“As we enter a new season of the sport that we have promoted for many decades, the Promoters seek a more collaborative approach to the development of the championship and the opportunity to offer their experience and expertise in a spirit of partnership with Formula 1 and the FIA.”
It is believed Liberty’s efforts to introduce a second US race in Miami was the catalyst for the penned statement, thus encouraging separate events to demand better financial terms in light of Miami’s intended profit share partnership.
Stuart Pringle, who is promoter for the British Grand Prix, said the treatment of historic races will lead to F1 racing on “second-rate” circuits if nothing is addressed.
“Miami are seemingly getting a free deal. That has not gone down well with anyone, not least with the guys at Austin, Texas, who are working hard to make their race pay,” he told the Daily Mail.
“If this continues, Formula 1 will be racing on second-rate circuits, if any at all.”
“Everyone is disgruntled. Liberty’s ideas are disjointed. We have all been compliant and quiet hitherto, but we have great concerns about the future health of the sport under the people who run it now.”