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Baku promoter hits back at Maffei criticism

NEWS STORY
15/03/2017

The promoter of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix has hit back at comments made about the event by Liberty CEO Greg Maffei.

Only yesterday we reported that Maffei had singled out the Azerbaijan event claiming that it "does nothing to build the long-term brand and health of the business".

"Our job is to find partners that pay us well but also help us to build the product and it is incumbent upon us to bring best practice," he told a conference in Florida last week.

Reacting to Maffei's comments Azerbaijan promoter Arif Rahimov told Reuters: "It does upset us, obviously. Mr Maffei has been involved in F1 for less than half a year. We've been working on this project for three years now so we have more experience with F1 than them. I think saying something like this is ignorant, but we'll see."

Clearly a bit of a loose cannon, only a few days before hitting out at Baku, Maffei, a shareholder in Liberty Media Corporation which owns one hundred percent of F1, had similarly lashed out at the $3m deal that saw NBC acquire the rights for F1 coverage in the US, describing it as a "popcorn fart".

"We truly believe the race was a success," insisted Rahimov. "It was something that was commented on from all the various stakeholders across the board. The fans loved the racing action, they loved what they saw as entertainment.

"It was a success for the drivers because it was a challenging track which was very unforgiving and which was very interesting for the drivers as well. It was a great race, it was a great show.

"I find it hard to understand how someone who has not attended the race or the event can be commenting on our race in a bad manner."

Asked if the future of the event was now jeopardised, he said: "The only way by which this contract can be ended is upon mutual agreement. We contribute a large chunk of F1 revenues and I believe it would be a loss for them if they were to make the decision to stop the race in Azerbaijan."

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by edllorca, 17/03/2017 14:34

""We contribute a large chunk of F1 revenues". Since when is <5% a large chunk? thank you Liberty for putting this race on notice. True words this race does not help F1."

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2. Posted by Mad Matt, 16/03/2017 11:57

"So you know it's a poor track and yet you "didn't even watch the highlights".........."

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3. Posted by Ro, 15/03/2017 20:28

"For once we hear something worth wile hearing...from Liberty Media??? Brilliant ! Lets hope its upset the Baku organisers so much that they will pull the plug on a ridiculous track that should never have hosted a GP...I would love to see last year's viewing figures and compare them with this years. I for one didnt even watch the highlights!"

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4. Posted by F One, 15/03/2017 19:23

"What fans are they? We hated it. It's a turgid unwanted track."

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