F1 teams still discussing share deal with Liberty

McLaren executive director Zak Brown says that F1 teams have not rejected the idea of buying shares in the revamped F1 Group, and are still in discussions with both Liberty Media and each other.

When its deal to buy into the sport was first announced, new F1 owner Liberty said that it would give teams the chance to take a stake in the new company.

It currently has what it terms approximately “19 million FWONK shares retained in treasury for possible sale to the F1 teams,” after extending the deadline for a deal to be done.

The teams asked for more time following the initial offer from Liberty, and that was granted.

“We were given a short period of time to review a large investment,” Brown told Motorsport.com.

“I think the feedback to Liberty was, ‘We need to know more, we want greater visibility.’ So they have now extended that window, which is a great thing.

“It’s great to see early on they put something out, the teams had comments, and they responded favourably, saying, ‘We hear you, we’ll give you some more time, so we can have some further conversations.’ That will be something that everyone can more thoroughly review and discuss.”

Brown insisted that time was the key issue why the deal has not yet happened.

“I don’t think it was a case of this is a good deal or a bad deal, it was more we want more time to talk about it, get to know you, and understand where we’re going. Because it’s a potentially substantial investment, and we just wanted to know more and have more time to talk about this.

“Certainly it was great that they did it, because they said that they would, so they followed through with their promise, and it was great when the feedback they got was we want more time, and they reciprocated by saying they’ll give us that time.

“So they are doing all the right things to show that they are going to take a collaborative approach to their relationships with key stake holders.”

Brown stressed that the teams have to work with each other over the issue to ensure that they get the best deal for themselves and the sport as a whole.

“I think we as the teams can do a better job of working together. Let’s leave our competition on the track, and off the track when it comes to things like sponsors.

“But I think there are times for the teams to collaborate and communicate, because we are all on the same boat, we all want to go in the same direction.

“I think we can do a better job as teams of working together when it makes sense to work together, and compete when it makes sense to compete.

“But on something like the future of the sport I think we all have the same goal. We want to make it bigger and better, so we’re all aligned around that.”

Last week Chase Carey agreed that there was a bigger picture, telling the BBC: “We initially made a proposal that had too short a timeframe and we have found a way to have discussion that can have an appropriate level of exchange.

“Out of discussions of equity will be discussions of where do we want the sport to be. There is a great deal of interest in the equity but first and foremost it is about trying to create more of an alignment with the teams about the future of the business.”