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Bernie Ecclestone departs F1

The business model utilized in Formula One under the regime of Bernie Ecclestone and the ownership of CVC served the purpose of making shareholders rich. Yet, this was achieved at the expense of the sport. TV audiences have been in decline for a long time, several teams are struggling to survive, races are leaving traditional areas of support and the fans are unhappy. New owner, Liberty Media, must address these problems if Formula One is to regain impetus and become sustainable for all interested parties in the long term.

For F1 the takeover represents the best chance of meaningful change. The model likely to be pursued by Liberty Media is going to refocus the sport on core markets, namely Western Europe. Much more effort to promote Grand Prix as an event is being trumpeted, as is reforming how the sport is consumed by the viewer. F1 has made very little effort in online streaming and Over-The-Top (OTT) content, but the new owners come from that world and are keen to introduce it to the sport. Other long overdue reforms, such as prize money equalization, are to be under discussion.

Aiming to create a different business model which can sustain F1 into the future will be difficult to achieve, but the task has been made easier by the appointment of former team owner Ross Brawn to the management team. Persuading interested parties to agree to reform will be much easier given his experience and talents in motorsports politics. Furthermore, he will be an important link to the governing body, FIA, and is steeped in the sports best needs.