Liberty giving teams a stake will help F1 - Red Bull boss Horner

Christian Horner feels it "sensible" of incoming new owners Liberty Media to allow the teams the possibility of taking a stake in Formula 1

Liberty giving teams a stake will help F1 - Red Bull boss Horner

The American media, communications and entertainment conglomerate is to become F1's largest shareholder in early 2017 with a 35.3% stake following an initial purchase last week of 18.7%.

Liberty Media outlined in a statement confirming its acquisition the teams are to be "given the opportunity to participate in the investment in Formula 1" with detailed terms of such an investment to be agreed in due course.

ANALYSIS: What are Liberty's plans for F1?

"The teams are stakeholders, and to have a controlling stake would be wrong, but to at least be offered the opportunity to participate is the right thing," Red Bull team principal Horner told Autosport.

"The teams are the backbone of Formula 1, and therefore perhaps some of the decision making for the future would become more focused on all parties - the commercial rights holder, the teams, the promoters etc.

"So I believe it would be a positive, and so long as it's controlled, it's sensible."

After 10 years of F1 being controlled by much-criticised private equity firm CVC Capital Partners, Horner feels the right partner has now come along to take it forward.

"It's by far preferential a group like Liberty acquire the shares in Formula 1 than venture capitalists," added Horner.

"I can't believe a company like Liberty would pay the price they have, with only four years left on a Concorde agreement, if they didn't have a long-term view and plans for the future.

"That can only be positive for the fans and the teams. Hopefully they will be able to bring things to the party where perhaps Formula 1 has not been so strong in the past."

A key goal for Liberty Media will be drawing in a younger audience via the use of social media and the numerous other media outlets within the Liberty Group as a whole.

Horner said the response to Max Verstappen's arrival in F1 as a teenager showed the opportunities to engage younger fans existed.

"You've only got to see the turnout there was in Spa to see how he's engaged a country," said Horner.

"We've seen that previously with [Fernando] Alonso in Spain, and obviously other drivers.

"The world we live in today is very different, people have so much choice, so much access to content, to the personalities, and that's an area we need to work on in Formula 1.

"It's to make the product better and more entertaining, which hopefully the regulations go some way towards achieving next year.

"I still personally feel we need to address the sound, which is an element of the make up of Formula 1.

"But we also need to use the other digital and media platforms to engage with the public and the mass following."

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