New F1 chairman says sport ‘can’t be a dictatorship’
NEW Formula 1 chairman Chase Carey has likened the running of the sport to a “dictatorship”.
Carey has been put in charge by US group Liberty Media, which is buying a controlling shareholding from CVC.
“You’ve got to understand what everybody wants and then find a path,” he said.
“That is not a task for a committee, as they tend to become bureaucratic. But there also can’t be a dictatorship, even if probably they are used to it.”
The remarks, made in an interview on the official F1 website on Carey’s visit to last weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix, will be interpreted as a reference to the way Bernie Ecclestone has run F1 for the past 40 years.
Ecclestone, who is 86 next month, has been kept on by the new owners as chief executive, but there has been no official confirmation of the length of time he will stay.
Carey, a long-time lieutenant of media mogul Rupert Murdoch, said: “With all credit to Bernie, he’s had enormous success — the world admires Bernie for the business that he has built. But I still think that there is another level that we can take Formula 1 to.
“For the first few months — call it 100 days — it is largely listening and meeting — and digesting. And then come out of that phase with a degree of visions that continue to be shaped. Nothing is ever written in stone. Bernie is the CEO, so Bernie is going to lead it and I will work with Bernie to establish some kind of strategic plan to where you want to go.”
Ecclestone, who is renowned for his distaste for working with other people and likes to have control in his affairs, told Sky Sports: “If, by chance, things aren’t going the way I think would be the right way then I will disappear for sure.”
But he added: “There is going to be no problem with Chase. We will work together. He has got expertise that I haven’t. We need to be in America. He knows America, he knows television and he can help us a lot.”
Liberty believes it can expand F1’s global reach and revenues by exploiting new avenues.
Carey has singled out expansion in the US, Americas and Asia, and a more effective use of digital media.
F1 has historically struggled to maintain a consistent presence in the US market, which many have said is a result of Ecclestone’s business model of demanding such large fees from circuits for the rights to hold the race that they struggle to establish a workable business plan.
Carey said: “It is too early to have a clear plan, but we clearly will have a plan to develop America, to be in the right market.
“There is a big untapped audience in the US. I don’t want to criticise the efforts in the past, because I don’t know the efforts in the past.
“Formula 1 is a great premium brand and that means to me that you want to be at a location like Los Angeles, New York or Miami. Ideally in the great cities in the world.” Chase said another of his targets was to “widen the core television experience to today’s needs”.
He added: “I believe that a good digital product makes the television product more rewarding.
“Marketing the sport, in telling the story of the stars and heroes and the incredible machines. Then strengthen it geographically.
“So there is not ‘the cash cow’, but there is growth possibility in every area.”
Meanwhile, Formula 1 teams have welcomed the takeover of the sport’s commercial arm by US group Liberty Media.
Liberty has bought an initial 18percent of the F1 Group and will become the main shareholder with 35.3percent when the deal is completed, due to be in early 2017.
Red Bull team boss Christian Horner said: “It sounds very positive. I can’t believe a serious group like Liberty would buy F1 without a long-term plan.
“Hopefully, they can address some of the weaknesses we have in some areas.” Horner singled out F1’s struggles to penetrate the US market and exploit digital and social media platforms effectively.
His views were echoed by Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff, who said: “Christian and I rarely agree, but on this we are 100 percent on the same page.”— BBC.