Ferrari president and CEO Sergio Marchionne believes that Formula 1 owner Liberty Media must focus on making the sport more entertaining and more accessible following its takeover.
Liberty completed its acquisition of F1 two weeks ago, with the arrival of new CEO Chase Carey, commercial chief Sean Bratches and sporting head Ross Brawn pointing towards a period of change for the sport.
Speaking in a Ferrari conference call with investors, Marchionne said that he expects F1 to do better through 2017 following the introduction of new technical regulations, but expects Liberty to push on and focus more on entertainment when considering the sport’s long-term future.
“What I expect, to be honest, is the sport itself to do better in 2017,” Marchionne said.
“I think there will be a great basis for us to continue and continue our commitment to Formula 1 and to really set the basis for a post-2020 world [upon the expiration of the Concorde Agreement].
“I expect Liberty, and Chase in particular, would have a very clear understanding of the fact that the entertainment side of this needs to come back into play.”
Marchionne added that Ferrari could not offer its long-term commitment to F1 if the sport’s audience was continuously in decline.
“We cannot keep on committing to a sport that has decreasing audiences for a variety of reasons,” Marchionne said.
“We need to re-popularize the sport and we need to make it more accessible.
“There is a lot of work that needs to be done. We will do our part as the Scuderia in making sure that that happens, but that work needs to get underway in earnest now.”