Greg Maffei criticizes the GP of Azerbaijan: “There serves to develop the health of the business”


it Takes a few months in the foreground of the Formula 1, and his presence had so far gone fairly unnoticed, but from time to time this part, the chief executive of Liberty Media, Greg Maffei, has starred in several headlines for some of his statements that spoke bluntly about some of the members of the category to the commercial level.

while Chase Carey, Ross Brawn and Are Bratzes will be men “on the ground”, in charge of the management and the day-to-day category, it is the responsibility of Maffei to ensure the economic profitability of the Formula 1, to be a substantial asset of the activities of Liberty Media. Shortly after consummating the purchase of the category, the Maffei recognized Forbes that, since the beginning of the talks in 2013, he had built “know the business better. Without a doubt, did not know him at all when we started this process”, and his later statements about the advantageous tax arrangement of the Formula 1 with the United Kingdom have led to a series of inquiries that could be addressed in the European Commission.

however, the two assertions most controversial of Maffei came in a conference held last march 1, . According to Forbes, the employer claimed that the $ 3 million that the channel NBC pays to the Formula 1 broadcasting rights in the united States are “a fart in the popcorn (sic). There is nothing. The opportunity is good, no doubt, in terms of percentage but not in absolute terms of dollars, is very low”. In addition, he also criticized that the chain was issued by events on its thematic channel of sports, NBC Sports Network, and not in the main.

Even with all that, what “better” was due to arrive. According to estimates BBC Azərbaycanca, in a later stage of the conference, Maffei voted on the policy of global expansion that the Formula 1 has followed in the last 20 years, something that Liberty Media intends to balance betting on to keep the Big Prizes historical. The head of Liberty Media, said that “the attitude of Bernie was ‘how much can I get them? How much in advance?’ I heard him call them ‘victims’!”, he added:

“All for end up with careers in places such as Baku in Azerbaijan, where we have paid a great rate, but that does not help you to develop long-term brand health and business. Our job is to find partners that will pay us well, but also help us improve the product, and it is incumbent on us to bring best practices. Abu Dhabi, the night race of Singapore, and Mexico is cconsideran as some of the most exciting races. What is going well in those races? We have to better share that with the promoters in each city in which things are less successful,”

Baku responds surprised

The organizers of the race on the street circuit of Baku, which will be renamed Grand Prix of Azerbaijan after the year the past the Grand Prix of Europe, paid an annual rate of $ 34 million (32 million euros), within a contract to 10 years. According to Forbes, that rate increases by 5% each year, so that the total amounts to 393 billion (369 million euros), all financed by the coffers of the state Azerbaijani language. Therefore, the statements of Maffei have caused a lot of controversy in the country, and have led to several responses. The first, on the part of Nigar Arpadarai, the head of communications of the circuit:

We are very surprised, due to the huge success of the Grand Prix last year. Not what we said just us, if not the international press, as well as the representatives of the FIA and all the managers of Formula 1. That’s why we are surprised with the statements of mr. Maffei, who, although he is the head of Liberty Media, is not personally involved in the operations of the Formula 1. Confiamos that the visit to Azerbaijan in June by Greg Maffei and officers of Liberty Media to change your perceptions”.

The second reaction came during a press conference convened on the occasion of the visit of David Coulthard, former driver and current commentator of Formula 1, to the city of Baku. The chief executive of the circuit, Arif Rahimov, considers that “it is strange to hear that phrase from a person who has not really been involved in racing for a long time. For what I know, mr. Maffei has only seen a race until now, so I find it quite difficult to understand how you can know what is good or bad for career, for sport and for business, and talk about our race in an inappropriate manner. David (Coulthard) has described our race as a success, and we really believe that it was. It was also a success with the fans and with the pilots; it was a great show and a great event”.

Regarding the statements about Ecclestone and the “heritage” that they assumed races, such as the Baku, Rahimov said thatyou can’t say one bad thing about the person who has created this sport, which has made it what it is, and that made it so attractive that Liberty Media decided to buy it. I am sure that is something that is only in the head of a person, instead of on the whole the new executive of the Formula 1. We are here, we are ready to show the great career that we have and to organize another great event 2017″

it Remains to be seen if these statements will represent a turning point in the early stages, and even a brief relationship between the Formula 1 and Azerbaijan, but Maffei has wanted to leave clear that his way of doing things is not the Bernie Ecclestone. But do not stray too far from the former boss of Formula 1 in which statements polemics refers.