Mexican and Russian Grand Prix Promoters Defend Liberty Media After Latest FOPA Criticism

by Aaron Gillard
Mexico - Red Bull - Grand Prix

The Mexican and Russian Grand Prix Promoters have defended F1 owners’ Liberty Media after they received recent criticism from the Formula One Promoters’ Association.

FOPA and representatives from Formula One Management gathered for a meeting in London this week to discuss the future of Formula 1 and how the sport is ran by the new owners. They released a statement regarding how unhappy they are over the lack of engagement from Liberty to the promoters and how fans lose free access to broadcasting of the sport. The UK can only access F1 via Sky Sports F1, which can only be accessed by paying for the channel.

The sixteen promoters who gathered for the meeting also said feel that new races shouldn’t be introduced, but are encouraged by alternative business models being offered in the sport.

After the statement was released by FOPA on Monday night, The Mexican Grand Prix organisers released their own statement, denying supporting FOPA’s statement.

“Following the statement made by the Formula One Promoters’ Association (FOPA), the FORMULA 1 GRAN PREMIO DE MÉXICO™ promoters want to express their sympathy with the promoters from other countries, understanding that each country and race is different. In addition, the Mexican Grand Prix’s promoters welcome the ongoing collaboration and good relationships with the rest of the promoters,” said in the statement.

“However, FORMULA 1 GRAN PREMIO DE MÉXICO™ did not participate in said meeting and appreciate the work that the new owners of Formula 1® are doing to understand the promoters’ requirements and concerns, as well as those from the fans. 

“The Mexican Grand Prix’s promoters recognise that the new administration of Formula 1® has listened and been sensitive to their concerns, with both parties working very closely together. As a result, they do not agree with what was released by the Formula One Promoters’ Association on their behalf.

“The Mexican promoters and Formula 1® continue the negotiations regarding the renewal of the FORMULA 1 GRAN PREMIO DE MÉXICO™ contract in private.”

The promoters for the Mexican Grand Prix is one of five races in this years’ calendar that don’t possess a contract for a race in 2020.

The deputy general director of the Russian Grand Prix in Sochi, Sergey Vorobyev added more on the topic relating to FOPA by saying to Motorsport.com that he doesn’t agree with FOPA’s statement because they failed to mention the problems Liberty couldn’t control or are working on.

“The statement is fairly toothless, because all the issues indicated there, in this statement, they are being resolved one way or another in the current format of communication with Liberty,” said Vorobyev

“It was at the initiative of Liberty that all the promoters gathered in London, specifically to discuss common matters with the participation of Liberty Media. I do not see the need for a separate assembly of some promoters.

“I do not share the position of the current chairman of the FOPA Association, Stuart Pringle. In his comments – public comments for the media – he has very frequently made personal criticisms of Liberty’s leadership and our whole common sport.

“I don’t believe this approach to be constructive, and therefore we, along with several other grands prix – and I am sure there will be more of us in the coming days, weeks and months – are not members of FOPA.”

FOM or Liberty Media have yet to respond with their own statement about FOPA’s concern over the future presence of the sport.

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