Ferrari wants Liberty to make F1 plans clear before buying shares

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Ferrari CEO and president Sergio Marchionne says he wants Liberty Media to make its plans for Formula 1 clear before the Italian marque will consider buying shares in the sport.

Liberty completed its planned takeover of F1 two weeks ago, with American executive Chase Carey become the sport’s new CEO following Bernie Ecclestone’s resignation.

As part of Liberty’s plans for F1, $400 million worth of shares in the sport have been put aside for teams to buy in the next six months.

Speaking during a conference call with Ferrari investors, Marchionne said that preliminary talks had taken place with Liberty regarding a stake in F1, but that he would need greater clarity of its future plans before agreeing to any deal.

“We started exploring that opportunity now. We’re in discussions with Liberty, I just recently had a meeting with Chase,” Marchionne said.

“The issue is not just a question of the financial investment. It’s something we do for a living and in a very serious way.

“The Concorde Agreement expires in 2020, so becoming a non-voting shareholder in an entity which effectively keeps us trapped in without knowledge of what the 2021 and later world will look like is something I consider unwise.

“So one of the things that we have tabled with Chase, and I think we are not the only ones who are tabling these concerns, is clarity on what the post-2020 world will look like and what Ferrari may be able to get from its involvement in Formula 1 activities.

“Once we have clarity, then I think it becomes a lot easier to decide if we want to participate in this venture.

“I think there’s a huge amount of upsides left in F1 which if properly managed can deliver rewards to everyone who’s an investor in this business.

“But we need clarity and we’re not there yet.”

Teams have until July 23 to buy a stake in F1, after which date any unissued shares will be retired.