New F1 chair­man says sport ‘can’t be a dic­ta­tor­ship’

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport Starts Here -

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.

Chase Carey

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