Liberty: Ecclestone to blame for calendar issues

Bernie Ecclestone criticises Liberty Media's democratic F1.

Bernie Ecclestone criticises Liberty Media's democratic F1.

Current owners Liberty Media have blamed predecessor Bernie Ecclestone for the ongoing issues with the Formula 1 calendar.

Mexico have recently joined the likes of Germany, Great Britain, Italy and Spain with huge question marks over their future on the schedule; finances inevitably playing a huge role.

And Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei has name-checked former boss Ecclestone for creating some of these problems through his prior negotiations.

“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.”

Maffei then provided an update on what is on Liberty’s current agenda for future calendars and it includes the option of bringing racing back to Africa.

“We remain working on Miami, but there are obstacles to a lot of that,” he added.

“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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