Liberty ‘big believers’ in traditional European races

Date published: March 13 2017

New owners Liberty Media are aware of how important traditional European races are to the success of Formula 1.

The German Grand Prix is a notable absentee from the 2016 calendar and Liberty President and CEO Greg Maffei has said they will continue to work hard to ensure that there is a strong European showing going forward.

The French Grand Prix is making a comeback in 2018, while Hockenheim is pencilled in to host the German Grand Prix next year, too.

But, as the British Grand Prix organisers are all too aware of, the rising cost in continuing to host the races is an ongoing concern.

"There are always tracks that go in and out," said Maffei.

"It is most negative when you have some of our traditional Western European tracks which are at the heart of the fan base, like in Germany, go out.

"But there's already progress to bring them back, and if you recall we added the Ricard track in France, another place where we've been gone for some years.

"The origin of F1 is in France and England, so we're big believers in making sure places like Silverstone and the French track and the German are on the race calendars and are exciting events, which are beneficial to all the players."

Maffei also believes that lessons can be learned from other Grand Prix hosts to ensure that the more traditional races can still attract plenty of interest.

"One of the things we need to do is make the races more compelling and exciting and more beneficial to promoters," he said.

"Take best practices, what worked in exciting races like Mexico City, like Singapore, like Abu Dhabi, bring those best practices across the globe to traditional tracks, which may not have had either as much financing capability, but also just don't have as exciting a product at the moment."

Maffei concluded by dismissing the notion that interest will wane in Formula 1 if the calendar continues to expand and said that NASCAR does not suffer from overexposure.

He said: "The nature of our 21 events in 21 countries suggests far less opportunity for fatigue and overwhelming viewers and overwhelming ticket buyers in any one region, because it's not available on that kind of frequency.

"Our positioning in the market place is probably less to the middle-income buyer and more to the high-income, but we do want to broaden that.

"We sit on the top of a the pyramid, a very affluent customer base, with opportunities to expand that.

"But our reach doesn't need to be as deep into the customer buying public as a sport that is as broad in the United States as NASCAR."