LIberty Media: Ecclestone told promoters they were overpaying
Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei has blamed Bernie Ecclestone for the ongoing issues surrounding the future of a number of grand prix races, saying the former F1 owner charged promoters too much before eventually telling them they were overpaying after ownership changed hands.
The races in Mexico, Germany, Great Britain, Spain, and Italy are all under threat due to financial issues, whether they be the price of holding a GP, or governments withdrawing funding for the sport.
Liberty Media have shouldered plenty of the blame for this, but Maffei has mentioned Ecclestone as another guilty party.
“Bernie had done a very good job, arguably too good a job, and had drained the promoters,” Maffei told a Deutsche Bank conference.
“And we got a lot of blow back, partly because we’re public now and they can see the prices, and also partly because Bernie suggested to a lot of them that they were overpaying. That didn’t help the cause.
“Exacerbating that are governments trying to pull back subsidies, in Mexico, other places – Spain. So that creates some challenges.”
It remains Liberty's intention to not only retain as much races as possible, but to actually add more race dates to the F1 calendar.
“We remain working on Miami, but there are obstacles to a lot of that,” he continued.
“We’ve looked at other alternatives in the US, including Las Vegas. We’ve looked at other alternatives in Africa. We’re trying to solidify some of the western European races and bring those in.
“That core fanbase is strong, and there are some in the works that may very well come to pass in those traditional western European places.
“You’re always trying to balance both solidifying where you are strong, or core, which is historically western Europe, and then adding other things, like expansion to Vietnam, potentially a second race in China, potentially a race in Africa.
“We’re not yet prepared to announce any, but there’s a careful mix or blend of where you want to grow and where you want to solidify.”
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