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Mercedes' dominance frustrating Liberty Media

Mercedes' dominance frustrating Liberty Media

News


Mercedes' dominance frustrating Liberty Media

Mercedes' dominance frustrating Liberty Media

Liberty Media chief executive Greg Maffei says Mercedes' record-breaking start to the season is unwanted in Formula 1 as the sport's American owners seek to sell a more competitive product to sell to prospective markets. The Silver Arrows have secured five consecutive one-two finishes to start the season, an all-time record.

Mercedes have won the constructors' and drivers' championship each year since 2014, with Lewis Hamilton triumphant individually each year except 2016, when Nico Rosberg beat him to the title.

Valtteri Bottas has won two of the opening three races to keep Hamilton honest at the top of the standings so far, but challenges from Ferrari and Red Bull have failed to materialise.

Speaking at the annual MoffettNathanson Media & Communications Summit in New York, Maffei gave a withering assessment of the season so far.

"Unfortunately Barcelona was not as exciting as we would have liked," he said. "Mercedes has done very well. Credit to Valtteri Bottas, Lewis Hamilton and Toto Wolff.

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"They are doing too well. We would like to see a lot more any given Sunday but we will see."

Liberty have faced criticism over the failure to secure the future of historic races in Great Britain, Italy and Germany, while seeking new races in the USA and Vietnam, but Maffei backed up the approach being taken.

"21 races, in 21 countries, and only one in the US for now," he said. "I still think that growing the US fan-base is a very big part of the opportunity. That's a longer term play.

"I have seen some studies that show that if you take the top sports, we are monetizing F1, I think at 8% or less than what the Champions League is doing on a per user basis. We are way under-monetized.

"We have a lot of opportunity to grow in markets like the US. That's not going to happen in a week.

"We will likely get a second race in the US and probably continue to generate fan interest. We have gone from being with NBC on the second or third channel to being on ESPN and even some on ABC. So it's higher profile.

"I think the growth opportunities in the US are real. I think the opportunity to get better monetization, not only on traditional broadcast, but potentially digital entrants down the road, is real.

"I think China is another opportunity like the US. We understand the US market better perhaps but China has a lot of opportunities as well."

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