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Williams worth $1.5bn, says Brown


Defending F1's stance on Andretti, McLaren boss, Zak Brown dismisses talk of anti-American bias whilst valuing Williams at $1.5bn (1.2bn).

With Washington now involved in the Andretti saga, one could draw the conclusion that F1 is effectively circling the wagons as it continues to defend its decision.

Now that FIA President, Mohammed ben Sulayem has appeared to fall in with the party line, Zak Brown, boss of McLaren, which along with Alpine had been the only team supporting Andretti's bid to enter F1 as an eleventh team, appears to follow suit.

Amidst calls on Joe Biden's administration to launch an investigation into whether the blocking of Andretti's entry is a violation of antitrust laws and the suggestion that "foreign automakers" are working together to block the American outfit's entry, Brown denies that there is an anti-American bias at work.

"I don't think there's an anti-American culture within Formula One at all," he tells ESPN. "When you look at the sport, you've got European manufacturers, you've got Ford from North America, you've got Honda from Japan. So the sport is extremely global.

"I've never come across any favouritism or negativity towards any region of the world," he adds. "The whole world participates in Formula One.

"As it relates to America, Liberty's American," he continues, "we've gone from one race to three races in America, including the single largest investment Formula One has ever made in anything, in Vegas.

"You have Ford, who have recently entered the sport. You have myself running one of the top teams in the sport. You have Netflix, which has been fantastic for the sport globally but specifically North America. And now on the tail end of that we have Brad Pitt, who's going to do a global movie that is U.S.-based, which will do wonders for the sport.

"I think what Liberty has done for the sport is amazing," he says. "If you look at what we needed to do for the sport, we needed cost controls; we have it now, and it's producing the closest grid in the history of Formula One.

"I'm sympathetic to the frustrations," he says of Andretti, "but the 'Formula One isn't welcoming America'...

"I think it's unfortunate that the root of the issue has moved from being between Andretti and Formula One and adding value," he adds, referring to the claim by Formula One Management as to one of the reasons why Andretti's bid was rejected.

Indeed, the "adding value" claim, according to Brown, is typical of the standing of the sport under Liberty's ownership and management.

"Historically in Formula One, it was enter, show up and the sport didn't care if you didn't make it halfway through a year," he says. "So in the past you had Lola start a team and they go bust after three races.

"I think Liberty is now in a position where you've got ten very healthy teams, so they're going to hold an eleventh and twelfth team to the extreme highest criteria and extreme due diligence, which I think is right."

And while you take in that "ten very healthy teams" claim, there's more...

"Previously there was always a team going bust next year," he adds. "Now you have over half the grid is profitable. And these franchise values, I think Williams was bought for $150 million, I don't think five years later you can buy that team for less than a billion and a half. So the value creation has been immense."

That's right, the team that had to withdraw one of its drivers from the Australian Grand Prix because it didn't have a spare car for him... that Williams.

Like Horner, Wolff, Famin, Alunni Bravi, Vasseur and now Ben Sulayem, Brown believes that purchasing an existing team is the answer.

"That would certainly be the easiest thing to do," he says. "There doesn't seem to be anyone who wants to sell at the moment, that being said, but that just means the offer needs to be bigger. There's always a number, but no-one has a 'for sale' sign, from what I can see, on their front door."

So, as the old adage goes... 'OK, we've agreed you're a *****, now let's fix the price!'

The American was also keen to deny that, certainly in terms of Andretti, the teams are working together, as has been suggested by Mario Andretti.

"There's a lot of similar views because it's a topic that garners a lot of similar views," says Brown. "I don't think it's a function of teaming up. I can tell you, I haven't spoken to Christian Horner in a while, as you can imagine!

"Throw a topic out there for the NFL or the MLB or the NBA and if it's a view that all the people in the sport have a similar view on, that's not because they've collaborated. I think it's just a common view.

"You could throw out 'Should we have 26 races?' and I think you'd hear ten teams saying, 'We don't think we should have 26 races'. That wouldn't be us collaborating; it would just be all the teams' views.

"So I don't think that the majority of the teams having some commonality in their views is anything other than that being their view and everyone is similar landing in a similar place."

What's that thing about the lady who doth protest too much?


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1. Posted by moomoo, 31/05/2024 21:35

"Let's not forget Brown and Andretti have a common interest in a racing team."

Rating: Positive (2)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

2. Posted by RP, 31/05/2024 18:13

"Last Year Arctos Partners bought a minority share in Aston Martin which translated to $1.24 billion for the team value. Aston Martin is worth a heck of a lot more than Williams according to ESPN. According to Motor Sport magazine, Audi is paying around $600 million for Sauber. If the Williams infrastructure is as bad as someone mentioned previously, Williams is hardly worth any more than that.
Isn't it still about dollars or pounds? One more team, even though authorized, would dilute the prize money. "

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

3. Posted by Laz, 31/05/2024 5:46

"Like everything in life it is only worth what someone will pay for it on the day , and any motor racing team that is not a top 6 finisher every year is only useful as a tax right off or a foot in the door.
F1 today is a closed shop."

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4. Posted by kenji, 31/05/2024 1:15

"It's quite laughable. The numbers these guys throw around are never qualified in any detail so where do they come from? It leads me to suggest the following, 'one pill makes you larger and one pill makes you small and the ones that Mother gives you don't do anything at all, go ask Alice, when she was ten feet tall'.
To suggest that Williams is worth US$1.5 billion is meaningless without any supporting numbers. "

Rating: Positive (5)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

5. Posted by Celtic Tiger, 30/05/2024 20:34

"I'm impressed by Zak Brown. Not at what he says but how well he can enunciate when talking out of his ****."

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6. Posted by KKK, 30/05/2024 19:33

"Im sorry but to have 3 races in America has not done much for the "globalization" of the sport. Las Vegas was the biggest bore-fest seen for 30 years of F1, Miami is as false as Stormy Daniels b**bs what with the false marina (what has that got to do with F1?). Why not have 1 race maximum per country, bring back South Africa or Malaysia"

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7. Posted by Chester, 30/05/2024 18:33

"I was rooting for Pato O'Ward at Indy this last weekend. I feel less sorry now that Zak Brown opened his bs-ing mouth. $1.5 billion. What a joke."

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8. Posted by Burton, 30/05/2024 14:37

"All the points Zak brings up, he can make them without making up numbers. Williams, by their own team principal's admission, is 20 years out of date in processes and infrastructure. There's no way they're worth 1 billion."

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9. Posted by Dirt, 30/05/2024 14:06

"F1's already lost me as a paying customer (F1TV), but with the recent consolidation of greed among the FIA, FOM, and the teams (i.e. Andretti can't enter unless they buy a team at a vastly inflated price, or wait until the next concord agreement when the entry fee increases from $200M to >$800M), F1 all but lost me altogether. Sport? What sport. Sport has long since departed the soul of F1, replaced by greed."

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