It looks as if John Malone’s Liberty Media has made their first installment, kick starting their multi-billion-pound deal to buy CVC Partners’ controlling share in Formula 1 with the first 13% costing them 1 billion dollars.
The deal reputed to take at least 6 months to complete and will see Liberty Media take a third of CVC’s 35% stake of Delta Topco, parent company of F1. Rumours are the total cost will reach at least £6 billion.
Ecclestone has offered to ‘hang around’ to help with the transition but with the caveat “If I don’t like those noises, I will say adios.” , referring to Malone’s expected changes to the sport.
Malone’s desire is to make some pretty seismic moves to alter the monetary distribution of the profits, making it fairer for the teams. Whether he can undo the tangle of backroom deals made by Ecclestone over the decades remains to be seen.
Liberty are keen to also implement changes to the TV rights and their astronomical costs, again a tricky feat. The intention is to drive down circuit ticket prices and return racing to the European heartland. The most probable method to achieve this is to embrace a totally new model using new media such as internet streaming, the Americans already have extensive knowledge of this style of consumption.
So who might replace Mr E? Ecclestone had hinted that Toto Wolff could take over but the Mercedes boss ruled himself out
“I am of course flattered when a man whose been such a massive influence in Formula 1 for decades trusts me enough with the job. But I am wholeheartedly with Mercedes and will be staying.”