Formula One's managing director Chase Carey has hit back at criticism of the changes Liberty Media has put through recently. He defended his company's decision by claiming every move serves Liberty's push to make the sport more appealing.
Out went Formula One’s long-serving supremo Bernie Ecclestone and in came Liberty Media’s new managing group a year ago. The American mass media company controlled by chairman John C. Melon has took an observing role in the first half year of their regime, but recently they have announced changes after changes.
The controversial, FIA-developed head protection system halo is arriving this year, grid girls have been banned, the long-standing race start time has been tweaked, and more races in the US are planned. Liberty Media also wants to change the current engine formula for 2021 and it also plans to revise the revenue share system which is the most sensitive topic for the teams.
The company which was founded back in 1991 and is present worldwide has been slammed by fans for making changes to traditional features. F1’s managing director Chase Carey emphasizes fans are the most important for Liberty Media and the changing serve their interest in the long term.
"The fans are incredibly important to us, just as Europe - including Gremany - is our base. So our motto is: same game, different approach. We want to create a product that includes everything the fans grew up with, but that is not frozen in time. Because if you do not allow change, you cannot grow,” said Carey to Germany’s Bild magazine.
"Bernie Ecclestone said himself in 2016 that he would not buy a ticket to a race. There was a negative spiral and we had to break it," American Carey added.
Liberty Media wants to improve the show without forgetting the past of the sport. On top of that, it wants to build on the strengths of the drivers.
"Lewis Hamilton is a very special personality. Half of Holland comes to the races to see Max Verstappen, and Ferrari is the brightest light in the sport."
The 64-year-old Irish-American hopes 2018 will present more fights at the front including different teams and drivers compared to the 4-year-long Mercedes dominance.
"Last year it was too much of a duel between Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton. I wish that sometimes an underdog would win rather than only the favourites. Can Fernando Alonso win again? Can McLaren attack with Renault? Will Verstappen have more luck than in the first half of 2017?” concluded Carey.