New F1 chairman Carey keen to develop fan base in America

© Getty Images
1 Comment

New Formula 1 chairman Chase Carey is keen to capitalize on the opportunity the series has in American and develop its American fan base in the long-term.

Liberty Media Corporation confirmed earlier this week that it would be acquiring F1 in a deal worth $8 billion, subject to approval from all third parties.

Liberty announced that 21st Century Fox vice-chairman Carey would be taking over as chairman of F1, working alongside CEO Bernie Ecclestone.

The arrival of an American company in the management of the sport led to speculation that there may be additional F1 races in the United States to bolster the series’ presence.

Carey and Ecclestone spoke with reporters on Thursday about the opportunities that lie in the United States, a market F1 has enjoyed a mixed relationship with for much of its history.

When asked if Liberty would work to crack the US market, Ecclestone said: “I hope they do, I really do.

“I’ve been knocking doors there for an awful long time.”

Carey spoke widely about the opportunities presented in the United States, but hastened to add that F1 needed to protect its European roots.

“I want it to be made clear we didn’t make this move because of America,” Carey said.

“America’s an opportunity. I think we can do a lot more in America. It’s probably more long-term than short-term.

“It will take time to build the audience, but there’s a much more passionate fan base than anyone recognizes in America. I think we can do a lot to develop that.

“Realistically it’s a global sport. We’re not trying to Americanize the sport. I think we have great respect for the European foundations of it. Europe is critically important to us, to build on that, opportunities to grow it.

“Certainly, the US is a big opportunity long-term, but this isn’t an American company Americanizing the sport. This is a great global sport, a great franchise, and it’s one we’re going to continue to build with the things Bernie’s built over the decades.

“It is an evolution. This a great sport with great brands, great franchises, great stars, great technology. We want to make it everything it can be and continue to build it and work with Bernie to make it bigger and better.”

Ecclestone and Carey were asked about their respective roles, with some observers believing there is a need for F1 to have a single leader.

“We’re dictators,” Ecclestone joked when reminded of former Renault F1 chief Flavio Briatore’s belief that the sport needed a dictator.

“We’re going to work together,” Carey added.

“The best businesses are partnerships. We’ll work together as a team and that’s my goal, to work together as a team.”