3y ago


      We are truly living in a revolutionary age of Formula 1. The way in which we consume the sport is changing. The influence that manufacturers have in F1 is rapidly drawing to a close. The changing of the guard has finally begun. Already we have seen historic giants such as Ron Dennis and Bernie Ecclestone unceremoniously dumped by the wayside as the sport begins to head in a new and successful direction.

      Earlier this year I wrote a wishlist for Liberty. You can read it here:


      It is clear that Liberty Media have had a positive effect on the sport already, but has it been sufficient for their first year? (Of course, this is taking into consideration that they have only been in charge for a season - Rome wasn't built in a day!)

      Well let's begin by saying Yes. They have had a sufficient positive effect on the sport, I think this is an undeniable fact. Some of the points from my earlier article have already begun to have been addressed, which is encouraging (they obviously paid attention to me...). Formula 1's social media rules have been vastly relaxed meaning that fans can immerse themselves further by just scrolling through their phones. F1's Facebook, Twitter and YouTube accounts have been become far more active so that there is now hours of footage that fans can enjoy without having to pay anything. Before the Malaysian GP this year, F1 uploaded the most popular Grand Prix from Sepang in FULL to YouTube! Admittedly this was not permanently, but compared to what we are used to it is a massive step in the right direction.

      In terms of TV, Liberty have found themselves in a difficult position with contracts such as the Sky one in the UK that were already locked in place before they came in to power. I think this is one they may have to just ride out. However we have already heard that F1 plans to launch its own Netflix show that would provide fans with races through the streaming service. This won't please everyone of course, but I think we must acknowledge that this is the direction in which TV is heading. Liberty would be foolish not to tap into this market.

      The experience at the circuits has already been improved dramatically. New F1 fan zones have begun to create a party/festival atmosphere that the sport was so drastically craving. The two seater F1 cars are also a step in the right direction in terms of allowing fans to get even closer to the sport, although I think work still needs to be done here. We saw at Austin this year a truly radical way of introducing the drivers to the grid, with the help of Michael Buffer. It certainly divided opinion, but I liked it. Yes it was slightly cheesy but I thought it was a great way to build up the tension to the race. It needs work, but they can't get it right straight away!

      We are starting to see encouraging signs regarding having races back with exciting character and historic background, with the return of the French Grand Prix in 2018. Liberty have also held talks with Turkey looking at the potential of bringing back the Istanbul Park circuit - which would be amazing to see with a 2017 spec Formula 1 car. However, they already face a challenge from Silverstone regarding the British Grand Prix. I think something will be settled eventually because the sport can't afford to lose a country where 3/4 of the teams are based, however it certainly represents Liberty's first sticky obstacle since they came to power.

      I mentioned not introducing the halo in my wishlist to Liberty, however I would suggest that this is rather outside of their jurisdiction. I'm hoping it is something we can all get used to, but it certainly takes something away from Liberty's vision of presenting the divers as 'gladiators' somewhat. And we all hate it, let's be honest.

      As for rule changes that the sport so desperately needs, Liberty has made a step forward on that front, although I might argue not significantly enough. With the proposed 2021 engine regs they've rather landed themselves in a dodgy no-mans land. Fans aren't really satisfied because they want V10s (myself included) and the big boys like Mercedes and Ferrari aren't happy as it makes their current engines, which they have spent millions on, rather redundant in a few years. There is definitely time to change this but Ross Brawn and co may have wished they had been a tad ballsier with their proposals. We shall see. This certainly marks sticky situation number two for Liberty.

      So year one has been a success for Liberty so far. However, I think this may have been their easiest year. Small changes have been quite welcome, but already we have seen a mood of dissatisfaction among teams, and some fans. Liberty's biggest challen still lies ahead and it is crucial that they now keep control...

      Join In

      Comments (7)

      • I just hope the Americans don't dumb down an intelligent sport so Joe Redneck can understand it. They tried that with hockey by making the puck glow blue; that lasted for one season - and was promptly dropped. 😀

          3 years ago
      • I think F1 is not on succesful direction in all terms with new owners. Don't make Formula 1 an American. It is European. I do not want to see more than one US circuit in calendar. I like USA but don't want to see F1 in American retrospective. It's ok that owners are Americans, like footbal clubs in Europe that are owned by different Chinese or Russian, but still remain European with no huge changes in their traditions. It's not the secret that F1 fans will enjoy more formula 1 season when it will be on the European stage on historical circuits. Americans please do not add stages in US, especially in Las Vegas.

          3 years ago
        • I cant wait for F1 to become more open to north america, F1 is becoming increasingly popular here. I like the european, asian and american tracks, but if more people start seeing it on tv they gain interest, especially at sport pubs. Theres a...

          Read more
            3 years ago
      • It was a good season but that Austin intro was really cheesy. It's F1 not WWE. let's keep it classy. To get a real assessment we'll have to wait a year or 2 for there new engine regs and to see how they can keep the grid penalties down. F1 coming to Netflix is awesome! There are many of us who cut the cord so having it on a service like Netflix is a step in the right direction. I would also wish they offered a subscription like the WEC. You get the whole seasons races in full plus qualifying for $40 USD. I'd pay double for F1.

          3 years ago
      • I'm sorry but the Turkish GP bit is not true. Erdogan used f1 in his political fight earlier this year, and once liberty found out Brawn stated that F1 will never again race in Turkey. F1 isn't a political weapon.

          3 years ago
      • There is a huge problem with the TV coverage... it is assumed that everyone has a satellite tv package or Netflix etc... also that people don't travel or have a second home abroad and wish to view the GP live.

        I have a home in France, have a freebox to see free to air UK television (have no wish to view French TV) and can't have a Netflix or other account as I simply want to see English language TV in France and this is not allowed.

        So next year if Sky remain the only source of live GP television, Ch4 losses the contract to air even highlights - how am I going to be able to view?

        As it is there is no way of watching The Grand Tour and next year I won't be able to view both the Grand Tour and Formula 1.

        So, Liberty Media, what are you able to offer to people like me? Amazon too?

          3 years ago


      Post sponsored by

      Personality quiz: Are you set for the future of motoring, or stuck in the past?