Revealed: Three F1 drivers that have ‘blessed’ Liberty Media during six-year reign

Thomas Maher
Max Verstappen, Sebastian Vettel, Lewis Hamilton artwork. F1

Max Verstappen, Sebastian Vettel, Lewis Hamilton artwork.

Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei says F1 has been “blessed” to have had three of the sport’s all-time greats in recent years.

The American media organisation bought Formula 1 from CVC in 2016, and have since moulded the sport in their own direction to fully embrace the advantages of social media and TV streaming to create a far more popular global sport than it was at the beginning of their tenure.

Chatting about the Liberty Media years on the Walker Webcast, Maffei said their job was made a little easier by having three of the sport’s all-time greats for fans to watch during those years.

Asked about the strengths of World Champions Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen, Maffei interrupted to offer another driver to the list of leading talents.

“And Sebastian Vettel!” he added, “look at our tenure, we’ve had three of the greatest drivers in history.”

With Vettel having retired from the sport at the end of 2022, with four F1 world championships to his name after title wins between 2010 and ’13, Maffei analysed the strengths of the two remaining drivers leading the sport.

“Well, it’s clear Max is an incredibly focused individual,” he said. “Aggressive, smart, capable, training all the time, thinking all the time. And Lewis is too. Great skills.

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“It’s always very tough to know how much is the car in F1? How much is the team, because it’s a team. There are a huge amount of resources to back them up, strategic decisions about tyre changes, and lots of other things that are the team.

“Then how much is the driver? Weighing all that is hard. But clearly, we’re blessed to have had, in the era where Liberty has been involved, three of the greatest of all time.”

With Verstappen running rampant at the top of the sport, as Red Bull have met the Liberty Media-developed regulations introduced at the start of 2022 head-on and ground running, Maffei said he is hopeful they’ll have some extra competition soon.

“Obviously, Formula 1 has had a long time when cars, teams, and cars had a run, you go back Red Bull won four in a row,” he said.

“Then Mercedes won eight in a row, seven with Lewis, and one with Nico Rosberg. Now we look like we may have a third for Red Bull. So it’s not unusual. I think it takes a while for teams to catch up to some of these new regulations but we can hope.”