Chase Carey says it was a “little strange” that Formula 1’s race promoters publicly criticised Liberty Media given that “no-one” spoke of those issues during a later meeting.
Formula 1 race promoters, FOPA, recently hit out at the sport’s owners, putting out a press release that highlighted their three concerns before Stuart Pringle, the managing director of Silverstone and the chairman of FOPA, added that “Liberty’s ideas are disjointed.”
He told the Daily Mail: “We have all been compliant and quiet hitherto, but we have great concerns about the future health of the sport under the people who run it now.”
However, 24 hours later, meeting with Liberty Media and its boss Carey, none of those concerns were raised by the “few”, as Carey puts it, who felt disgruntled.
Speaking to ESPN, he said: “I think, realistically, if you get 21 in a room you are bound to find a couple who have something to complain about.
“In all honestly, I thought the meeting [with race promoters] 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 [concerns at the promoters’ conference], but realistically no-one brought any of them up – they just put it out in a press release, which was a little strange.”
However, what was strangest of all to Carey was that FOPA stated that there was a lack of clarity from Liberty Media, even though Carey was set to meet with them in London the very next day to issue just that.
He added: “I thought that was the strangest [part] because they put it out the night before, so 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.”
As for FOPA’s complaint that “new races should not be introduced to the detriment of existing events”, Carey was adamant new venues won’t necessarily mean the demise of old ones.
“Certainly we are not pursuing new venues at the expense of existing [races],” he said.
“The reality is we’ve renewed [race contracts], since we took control about two years ago, and the only race we haven’t renewed is Malaysia, which was a mutual decision, so that’s the reality.
“That being said, we want long-term partnerships and I think it’s important to provide a freshness and a new energy to it.
“I think we certainly value our existing partners and most of those relationships are long term and I expect most of them to continue. But I think it is important that where there is an opportunity to add something special, we can add a new race.”
At present Monza, Barcelona, Hockenheim and Silverstone are all fighting for their Formula 1 futures.
Carey wouldn’t be drawn on how any of those negotiations are going.
“As I’ve said in the past, we will talk about them when they are done,” he added. “This sport seems to like to talk – talk first and act second.
“I think these are complicated deals and we are engaged in each of them and we will see where we go. There are issues we have got to wrestle around and we do have others that are being aggressive about wanting to be a part of the calendar and we don’t have that many slots.
“But I’m not going to get into details, at this point those are private discussions between us and promoters, and Silverstone chose to make it public a couple of years ago, but we have continued to deal with it as a private discussion, with them and our other partners.”