The Chairman of Ferrari, Sergio Marchionne, expected that the arrival of LIberty Media to the Formula 1 bring news and a step forward in the new direction on the part of the category. The Italian has joined the voices calling for a change to attract new fans, as well as to recruit new generations.
Marchionne says Ferrari can’t commit to a Formula 1 in decline and extremely elitist. “What I hope, to be honest, is that sport is better this year. And I think that would be a good basis to continue our commitment in Formula 1 and lay the groundwork for what happens after 2020. I hope that Liberty -and, in particular, Chase – have a clear vision of what you need to this sport in terms of entertainment. I mean we can’t continue to commit ourselves with a sport that is becoming less and less public. We have to re-make F1 a popular sport, and accessible. We will do everything possible to make sure that they”, said in a statement picked up by Motorsport.
Marchionne believes that there is much room for improvement and that if you are taking the right steps, the Formula 1 will once again flourish. “I Think that there is much room in the Formula 1, and that if handled properly, can offer big rewards for all investors. But we need clarity and still don’t have it”, has said Marchionne in a clear reference to Liberty Media.
And is that the new owners of Formula 1 have been offered to the teams become shareholders of the category, but Marchionne sees it unfeasible in the current conditions. “We have begun to study the possibility, the question is not only the financial investment. It is something that we take very seriously, the Covenant of the Concordia ends in 2020, for that reason becoming a shareholder without the right to vote in an entity that we don’t know what path it will take after 2020, it may be unwise to”, recognized the Italian, who expects Liberty Media to make public its strategic plan in order to decide if it is an interesting path to take. “So one of the things that we have been asked to Chase (Carey) -and I think that we are not the only ones with these kinds of concerns – is what will happen with the Formula 1 from that year and what would Ferrari if engaged. Once we have clear plans, it will be easier for you to decide if you want to participate in this company”.
Finally, Sergio Marchionne addressed the issue of the bonus historic Ferrari receives each year and which is encrypted in 100 million dollars. This negotiation made by Bernie Ecclestone has been publicly rejected by Liberty Media, but Marchionne warns that it will continue in force until the conclusion of the Agreement of the Concordia in 2020. “there will be No changes in the contractual agreements between the F1 and Ferrari until 2020. The topic is not even raised and I think it will be quite unwise to raise it as a topic of discussion”.