Carey describes F1 promoters’ criticism as ‘strange’

Chase Carey

Formula 1 CEO Chase Carey has described particular grand prix promoters’ criticism of Liberty Media as ‘strange’ given it pre-empted a specific discussion about the concerns they raised.

The Formula One Promoters Association released a statement last week which expressed disapproval about matters such as the hit to publicity which F1 has taken by selling broadcast rights to pay television rather than free-to-air in various territories.

Silverstone Circuit managing director Stuart Pringle, who is head of the association, also went to British media to state his displeasure about the as yet unsigned “free deal” being offered to hold a race in Miami.

The association, which claims to represent 16 of the 21 grand prix promoters, had met in London a day before all promoters and F1 commercial rights holder Liberty were due to meet anyway.

Carey highlighted the pre-emptive nature of the statement as being ‘strange’.

“I thought that was the strangest, because they put it out the night before (the meeting with Liberty),” he told ESPN.

“We already had a day set up to talk about initiatives and they – well, only a couple of guys – put out a press release saying we need to talk about initiatives.

“That was the strangest part.”

Aside from the negative promotional impact of pay television, the FOPA claimed that there was “lack of clarity on new initiatives” and that new races could jeopardise the future of incumbents.

However, promoters of the Mexican and Russian grands prix, the former of which is a member of the FOPA, sought to distance themselves from the statement.

Carey was unperturbed by the barbs from the FOPA after what he believes was a positive meeting between all parties.

“I think, realistically, if you get 21 in a room you are bound to find a couple who have something to complain about,” he noted.

”In all honesty, I thought the meeting was incredibly positive. I thought there was tremendous support from the vast majority and they have a great appreciation for what we are doing.

“The fact that a few of them wanted to find something to complain about, that’s life. It’s not going to change what we are doing, and by a large majority the promoters have been supportive and are excited about what we are doing.

“They believe the sport, for them and in general, is in a much better place than it was a few years ago and is going in the right direction, and we have got a list of places we can’t accommodate (on the calendar) that we would like to add to the sport.

“It’s part of life, you are going to find a bunch of people who have something to complain about and are going to make noise. We will go forward and do what we are doing, which I think we feel good about.

“I addressed all three (of the FOPA’s concerns) but realistically, no-one brought any of them up – they just put it out in a press release, which was a little strange.”

Carey was speaking in Azerbaijan, which has just signed a new deal to remain on the calendar until at least the end of 2023.

There had been a level of uncertainty over the future of the race due to the existence of a break clause midway through its original 10-year contract, in 2020.

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