Formula 1 race promoters criticise Liberty Media's direction

Formula 1 owner Liberty Media has been criticised in a group statement by grand prix promoters for the direction it is taking the championship in

Formula 1 race promoters criticise Liberty Media's direction

Amid ongoing uncertainty about the fate of five races, with the British, Italian, Spanish, German and Mexican GP contracts expiring this year, there has been a growing unity among the race organisers about the need for things to change.

A Monday meeting of the Formula One Promoters' Association took place between representatives from most F1 races, although Autosport understands that the GPs in Russia, Japan, Bahrain, Abu Dhabi and China were not part of the discussions.

Prominent among the worries are that F1's move to more pay-TV will slash the number of viewers, and therefore those interested in buying tickets, plus questions about why some events were being offered better financial terms.

In a statement issued by FOPA on Monday night, the body said that there were three key issues for 16 of its members:

It is not in the long-term interest of the sport that fans lose free access to content and broadcasting.

There is lack of clarity on new initiatives in F1 and a lack of engagement with promoters on their implementation

New races should not be introduced to the detriment of existing events although the association is encouraged by the alternative business models being offered to prospective venues.

The statement added: "As we enter a new season of the sport that we have promoted for many decades, the promoters seek a more collaborative approach to the development of the championship and the opportunity to offer their experience and expertise in a spirit of partnership with Formula 1 and the FIA."

The statement about alternative business models is understood to reference efforts to pull off a Miami street race.

During the discussions, it emerged that the US-race promoters had been offered a profit share partnership, rather than the more traditional model where races pay tens of millions of dollars for the right to hold the event.

The Miami situation is understood to have been a key factor in encouraging the events that do not have deals beyond this year to stand firm and demand better financial terms.

British Grand Prix promoter Stuart Pringle, who is boss of the Silverstone track which activated a break clause in its British GP contract, warned against free deals to new races when existing ones like the United States GP in Texas (pictured above) are trying to make their event pay.

"If this continues, Formula 1 will be racing on second-rate circuits, if any at all," Pringle told The Daily Mail.

He added: "Everyone is disgruntled. Liberty's ideas are disjointed.

"We have all been compliant and quiet hitherto, but we have great concerns about the future health of the sport under the people who run it now."

Liberty Media has declined to comment on the matter, but it is understood it is due to meet all promoters today (Tuesday) for a meeting to discuss matters.

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