6 Key Changes Chase Carey Has Done For F1
Chase Carey is stepping aside for Stefano Domenicali, but F1 has come a long way thanks to Carey's effort and dedication.
Liberty Media's Chase Carey has not been in charge of Formula 1 for long, but already the American has introduced plenty of changes into the sport during his tenure.
With the sport now heading into new leadership in 2021 with former Ferrari boss Stefano Domenicali, Carey will take a non-executive role within the sport and will observe from behind the scenes.
Between 2016 to 2020, Carey has brought a lot into the sport, and whilst he leaves his position into the hands of a well-known F1 figure, he'll be remembered for his efforts and dedication to improving the sport globally. What are the main issues Carey has fixed during his tenure?
1. Settling The Concorde Agreement
Prior to the new Concorde Agreement, there were doubts over the future of some F1 teams. F1 feared that a few teams would pull the plug on the sport, even with the latest pandemic affecting some of the teams' finances.
Haas' future was in doubt as owner Gene Haas was looking into ending its F1 tenure, whilst Renault's future was also uncertain. Mercedes were unsure of the new proposals relating to prize money, causing Liberty and Carey to review the agreement with the teams and seek common ground between all 10 parties.
Chase Carey & Ross Brawn settled the Concorde Agreement for 2021 // Image Credit: Sutton Images
As the sport reached halfway through 2020, the deadline was fast approaching. Eventually, McLaren and Mercedes were first to agree on the new agreement. A day later, all teams reached a full agreement, setting the new Concorde Agreement for 2021.
It will be Liberty Media's first Concorde Agreement as it aims to issue the short and long term issues and put rights to some problems from the previous deal created by Bernie Ecclestone.
The deal will mean all 10 current teams will compete as they are, or under different names until the end of 2025, allowing Liberty to run their agreement and prepare for the next one when it eventually comes.
2. New Grands Prix & Venues into F1
Under Liberty Media's ownership, F1 has adventured into new locations across the globe for both races, and fan experience events. Securing races is not a simple task and negotiating deals with countries is one of the trickiest jobs a CEO in F1 has to face.
Under Carey's guidance and assistance from Sean Bratches, F1's Chief Commerical Officer at the time, F1 has been able to venture into new locations and expand its calendar for future seasons. The return of the French Grand Prix, a venue been vacant from F1 since 2008 returned at the Paul Ricard Circuit in 2018, was one of the first races to be brought in under Carey's reign.
The loss of the Malaysian Grand Prix was a blow for the sport as they decided to leave, but Carey was able to react with a new exotic Grand Prix in Hanoi, Vietnam. Set to be introduced for 2020, the race will make its debut in 2021 and will serve as a new home alongside Singapore, China, and Japan as a race in South East Asia.
Max Verstappen will have a home race next year // Image Credit: F1
As well as bringing Vietnam into F1, Carey also secured the return of the Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort. The return will mark the first Dutch Grand Prix since the 1980s and will serve as a home race for one of F1's most popular drivers, Max Verstappen.
Carey has also explored locations for future races such as Miami, Denmark, and Rio de Janeiro, showing signs that F1 is aiming to resume its expansion. Carey also managed to negotiate contract extensions for Suzuka, Monza, Spa-Francorchamps, Silverstone, making sure F1's iconic venues stay whilst aiming to bring in new locations to the calendar.
Outside of races, F1 has brought in live experience events into locations leading up to Grand Prix weekends. 2017's F1 Live London was the first of its kind and set the stage for future events. Further events in Marseille, Chicago, Miami, Shanghai, and Los Angeles have helped F1 expand its profile beyond races and increase its awareness to the public.
3. Increased Fan Focus into F1
Under the Ecclestone era, F1 was known for not taking much fan feedback. But under Liberty Media, F1 saw a mass change in its profile and image, aiming to increase the sport's popularity and presence within the media.
One of Liberty Media's first acts when taking full control in 2017 was an increase in social interactive online. Teams were now able to post more content on-track than before, opening the door for more creative opportunities and ideas online. The sport's social media platform pushed more content, engagement, and campaigns within its first season, as well as exploring ideas online for the future.
F1's Drive To Survive on Netflix has expanded F1's reach to a global audience // Image Credit: Netflix
The increasing focus on Social Media allowed the teams to develop their own characters, as well as F1's as fan following increased with the sport and new ideas were put into production. F1's own digital team began to take shape with Will Buxton as the main host for F1TV, F1's own streaming platform. F1 then ventured into new territory with Netflix, launching the 'Drive To Survive' series in 2019, covering the 2018 Season.
As well as increasing social interaction, F1 pushed towards Esports than any other series at the time, launching the F1 Esports Series. With Esports growing every year, F1 quickly cashed in and would develop year on year, with teams entering and competing for cash prizes. It also allowed game developers Codemasters Studios greater access to the sport, thanks to Carey's willingness to help develop the sport.
4. 2022 Regulations Finalised
Liberty Media's vision for F1's future consisted of a closer and fairer championship, both on and off the track. In 2019, Carey with the help of the FIA and Ross Brawn presented its vision for the future of F1, originally aiming for 2021.
This vision aims to ensure everyone has a competitive chance, after the recent years of Mercedes dominance. The top three teams also had a large gap to the midfield, meaning that unusual results were once in a blue moon. Liberty and Carey wanted to change this, introducing a new wave of sporting, technical, and for the first time, financial regulations into the sport. #
F1 will run new regulations in 2022 // Image Credit: F1
All teams agreed on the new technical regulations placed by Liberty, but some teams were unease with regulations over how much they can spend within a year, which caused an agreement to be delayed into 2020. Just as the deadline loomed, all teams finally agreed on a set budget of $175 million from 2021. But the COVID-19 situation saw the budget cap needed to be re-adjusted.
Carey and F1 sought out to find a new cap, but some teams felt that the original cap was too high, others too low. Eventually, new terms were reached eventually, with a set cap of $145 million for 2021 as a start. New exclusions were brought in, mainly focusing on engine costs to entrants.
Seeking new regulations and getting all teams to agree is never an easy job to do. Often or not, one or a few teams will disagree and would leave new rules or proposals never getting the green light. But Carey was determined to get F1's new future agreed, seeking with the teams on what they want and trying to find the middle ground. It worked and F1's future for the 2022 season is set in stone.
5. F1's #WeRaceAsOne Campaign
Before the beginning of the 2020 Season, F1 would launch their own campaign relating to the social injustice issues that emerged in the United States. Following Lewis Hamilton's awareness and formation of The Hamilton Commission in response to the latest #BlackLivesMatter movement, F1 followed quickly with their own: #WeRaceAsOne.
Carey personally explored the idea of a more diverse and equal sport since December 2019, according to an interview with Sky Sports F1. But the recent events pushed Carey further into acting, forming the campaign in which all teams agreed to take part in and help raise awareness into its programme. Carey also personally donated $1million of his own money towards the campaign.
On previous occasions, particularly, F1 has been quiet on issues relating to the real world, but the movement by Liberty Media and Carey shows F1 are listening and want to end the fight against racism, discrimination, global inequality, and the fight against COVID-19.
Carey insists that this campaign will not be a 'one-year' thing. A slogan for a few months. He is insistent that the project will be long-lasting and will help communities across the globe for equality and ending the fight against discrimination.
Despite the comments regarding the campaign in recent months, Carey stood up and took note of the situation that the world was facing and wanted to take action.
6. Handling The COVID-19 Pandemic
The COVID-19 Pandemic has put everyone under an unusual situation, and it was the case for the 2020 Formula 1 Season. The opening race in Australia was cancelled due to the virus and later, further races were postponed or cancelled as the virus rapidly spread across the globe.
Despite early warning signs of the virus, F1 would still insist on racing in Melbourne. The decision would backfire as the virus-infected one member of the McLaren team, putting the race under threat. Carey at that moment was in Vietnam, discussing their situation with the virus and immediately travelled to Australia the next day to deal with the issue.
Only one driver has been confirmed with COVID-19. Sergio Perez missed two races as a result
The virus seriously put the 2020 championship into doubt, but Carey insisted that a championship will go ahead whatever it takes. Fortunately, as the situation developed, Carey continued to contact circuit organisers and governments to review the ongoing virus and whether a race could be possible. Whilst some races were cancelled as time developed, Carey was focused on the long game.
Carey personally aimed for a 15-18 race championship from May to December. By June, Carey and F1 were able to develop an eight-race calendar from July to September, with more races to be reviewed as they progressed into the year.
By September, Carey was able to construct a 17-race calendar consisting of existing venues, classic tracks, and new locations such as Mugello and Portimao to form a unique championship in 2020.
Carey's desire to secure a championship with such length seemed unachievable, but he managed to complete it and the ability to bring in locations such as Imola and the Nurburgring is admirable. Nine races in, and it looks set to be one of the most memorable seasons in F1 history.
New races at Nurburgring, Portimao, and Imola are introduced for 2021 // Image Credit: F1
One of the fears during the pandemic was the financial hit the teams would face. A season with no racing was not an option and would put teams in danger, for some, to the point of extinction. But Carey's work to ensure a season and teams would earn revenue for the year with a 17-race series is something that should be applauded for.
Even with the virus still present, F1 has made sure that everyone is safe and healthy with COVID tests to be taken regularly, everyone staying within their own bubbles, and their own PPE to ensure the virus doesn't spread. This concept has worked so far, with only nine positive COVID-19 cases from July to now.
Whilst fans could not attend races at the beginning of the season, Carey reassured fans that they'll return when it is safe to do so. Mugello hosted the first race with fans, whilst Russia, Portugal, Germany, Imola, Turkey, and Bahrain are selling tickets for fans.
Whilst Carey's stint as F1's CEO may be short, he's achieved and fixed some issues and set the baseline for the future of the sport under Liberty Media.
The sport will be in good hands with Domenicali with his knowledge and expertise in F1, but Carey will still be around to assist and help Stefano as he takes over the wheel.