Formula One’s drivers will battle it out in an Esports Virtual Grand Prix series in a bid to give fans their racing fix while the season is delayed by the coronavirus.
Will Liberty Media’s purchase of Formula 1 be good for Formula 1 and the fans who follow the sport?
It’s a complicated and frankly huge deal in the business world and will be completed by the first quarter of 2017. But is it good news for F1 fans? It certainly sounds positive, here’s why:
1. A new path
F1’s majority shareholder CVC Capital Partners is a private equity firm. Over the years they have been heavily criticised for trying to make as much money as possible from the series, rather than focusing on what is really important.
Liberty Media is a media, communications and entertainment company. Sure, they want to make money from F1. No one wants to make a loss. But Liberty has a lot of ties and links to big industry names and seems eager to build up the sport using its expertise, while keeping the core and character of F1 the same.
2. Digital diversification
Despite the state-of-the-art cars being raced around tracks at over 200mph, F1 has been slow as a company to adopt and embrace digital avenues and 21st century technology. This is one of Liberty’s main outlets and with its strong links, we could be set for a big push on the digital side of F1. Which is about time.
3. Social media improvements
F1 was compared to other major sporting series, and it’s still paying the price. Liberty has expertise in this area and is much more tech and digital-savvy, which can only be a good thing for F1’s social media strategy. It’ll likely expand and this could get more people (particularly young people) interested.
4. The heart of F1 remains
It doesn’t look like Liberty Media will make drastic changes to the on-track action and way F1 works, for now anyway. F1 is in a at the moment, apart from the (which has turned a lot of people off).
There’s some good racing and lots of exciting drivers, but the big 2017 changes – particularly to aero – could help bring the field closer and spice things up. But Liberty looks set to keep the heart of F1 in the short term and just bring it into the 21st century off track.
5. Bernie remains
Many people dislike F1 for decades, but some think he’s past his best and is damaging the series. Sure, he makes some weird decisions, says some strange stuff and comes up with ridiculous ideas but you’ve got to remember he’s shaped the sport we see today.. He’s been in charge of
He’s done some incredible work to transform F1 into one of the biggest sports in the world. He knows F1 better than anyone else, so it makes sense he remains involved. There’s still a lot of room for improvement but he’s grown the sport immensely and brought us a bit closer to it as well.
6. F1 teams buying shares
In the initial Liberty Media announcement, it stated F1 teams will be able to buy shares in the series when the takeover is complete. This will make them more involved and have more of a say, as well as helping strengthen F1. It could also help teams get their own way, but we’ll see how it works out. It seems to have had interest at this early stage, with some teams already asking about it.
7. Evolving the events
As a media and entertainment company, Liberty could do a lot to better the overall race experience, bring people closer to it from their homes and evolve the overall weekend into a huge F1 celebration. With their contacts and involvement in the industries, there’s huge scope to build on the current entertainment foundation we’ve currently got in F1.
8. New venues
Liberty has said it hopes to expand the F1 calendar to new markets, but said it’s crucial F1’s home in Europe is built on too (which is great for classic tracks). Its main focus is on the tricky US and Asian markets, but there are a lot of potential audience figures there and if done properly, it could open up new sectors for F1.
9. Virtual reality?
It’s expected Liberty Media will expand F1’s horizons into new sectors like virtual reality. Think how cool it could be to race an F1 car using the technology? We’ve already seen Formula E dip its toe into the virtual reality pool, and F1 could follow with this new deal.
10. Increased marketing and promotion
One thing CVC needed to do more of is to increase effort into marketing and promotion of F1. How will people discover F1 if they don’t see anything about it? Liberty Media wants to push F1’s story and get the message out to more people. Plus, with its digital ties, we could (hopefully) see some cool and creative marketing and promotion to draw in more people.