Carey refutes Marchionne's NASCAR claim

09/11/2017
NEWS STORY

Chase Carey and Greg Maffei have used a Liberty Media conference call today to refute Sergio Marchionne's claim that F1 faces being NASCAR-ised under the sport's new owners plans for its future.

While the Ferrari president's claim came in the wake of proposals for the 2021 engine formula, it is clear that this was really the opening gambit in a bitter struggle the sport faces as Liberty seeks to attract more fans and sponsors, and thereby rake in the money, by levelling the playing field. This will be done not only by introducing a spending cap but by dividing the prize pot more equally, a move that would benefit the likes of Force India and Sauber, but damage the likes of Ferrari and Mercedes.

Speaking today, both Carey and Maffei refuted Marchionne's claims.

"Actually I don't think we have a differing view to Ferrari," said Carey. "I'm not trying to be derogatory to NASCAR, but we don't plan to be NASCAR either.

"I think what was meant by that is, we don't want to standardise the cars. We don't want twenty identical cars going around the track and the only difference is the driver.

"F1 is unique," he insisted, "it marries up competitive sport to state-of-the-art technology. We want all the teams to have the ability to do what they do to create cars that are unique to them - unique engines to them, unique bodies to them. But we want to make success dependent on how well you spend your resources within some constraints, versus how much you spend. I think that's a healthier sport.

"Then those that can develop the technologies, develop the capabilities that are better than others, will enable them to succeed," he continued.

"But we want the cars to be unique, we want each team to have the ability to have a car that is unique to it, so I don't actually see it any differently."

Referring directly to the manufacturers, he said: "In terms of ‘win on Sunday, sell on Monday', that's always going to part of it and we want teams to compete to win, but we want all the teams to have a chance. It's never going to be equal, but over time we want all the teams to feel they have a fighting chance.

"Sports are built on the unexpected, so we want a sport that can expect the unexpected and that benefits... realistically, if somebody wins every race, every week, at the end of the day the sport's going to suffer. Sports are built on drama, uncertainty, the unknown; you need competition, you need the unknown, you need great finishes, you need great stories, you need great dramas.

"We've got to create that. That attracts more fans and thereby benefits all the teams. Our first priority is to make this better for us and the existing teams in it. I can understand that a team wants to win every race, but from our perspective what you want is that you're creating a sport that has that basic appeal to consumers of great action, unexpected results and the uncertainty that comes with live sports."

"I think there's an implied element of over exposure," added Maffei, "NASCAR is heading to 40 races alone in the US, there's no sense of exclusivity, no sense of uniqueness, and everything that we're trying to do, that Chase and his team are trying to do, is build on that exclusivity, built on that uniqueness, that excitement.

"I think we're far more aligned with some of the goals some of the teams have expressed publicly than they understand."

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Published: 09/11/2017
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