Harsh letter from Liberty Media, supported by the teams, as a response to the statements of the federal president on the economic value of F1. The Saudi sovereign wealth fund’s 20 billion purchase proposal sparks controversy
Each in its place. F1’s reply to the FIA president’s statements on social media was not long in coming. A harsh letter in which Mohammed Ben Sulayem is warned not to interfere in matters concerning the economic and commercial management of the brand that represents the highest category of motorsport, which is owned by the American company Liberty Media.
The phrase Fia on twitter
The controversy was sparked by a comment by the head of the international automobile federation on the offer to acquire F1 made in 2022 by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, apparently ready to spend around 20 billion euros to take over the rendered business global by Bernie Ecclestone and relaunched by Liberty in recent years. “As the custodian of motorsport, the non-profit organization FIA is cautious about the allegedly inflated $20 billion value attributed to F1,” Ben Sulayem wrote in a twitter post relaunched by the FIA. “Any prospective buyer is advised to apply common sense, consider the good of the sport and present a clear and sustainable plan, not just a lot of money. It is our duty to consider the impact in terms of increased hosting fees and other costs and any negative impact it may have on fans.”
the F1 teams with Domenicali
Stefano Domenicali, president of F1, promptly responded to Ben Sulayem’s considerations, after hearing the discontent of all the teams, worried about the possible negative effects on the value of F1: “The FIA has unequivocally undertaken not to do anything may adversely affect the ownership, management and exploitation of F1’s commercial rights. We believe that these comments, made from the FIA President’s official social media account, interfere with these rights in an unacceptable way.” A clear position by Liberty Media, which has been very committed to the growth of F1 in the United States and beyond, obtaining an enormous commercial return, and now does not want to see its commitment frustrated.
endless controversy f1-fia
The Saudi offer, mentioned by Bloomberg, never materialised, but contacts have been made and it is not excluded that the discussion could be resumed. Liberty acquired F1 in 2017 for $4.4 billion, about five times less than what Arabia is now willing to offer. As for Ben Sulayem, he doesn’t seem willing to back down, if he told Autosport: “The FIA should participate in the talks, give advice, because the Federation owns the championship even if we have rented it”. Compared to the time of Jean Todt, it is clear that the relationship between F1 and the FIA are no longer idyllic.