F1 for sale? Bernie plays trick on Liberty?

Last night, some news outlets, blogs and even ex-F1 drivers have picked up on a story shared by a reasonably well known F1 finance reporter of whom I won’t mention by name here.

The reporter in question runs the Formula Money Twitter account, along with a website that specialises at acquiring data on the financial side of Formula 1, with a view to selling that information to investors and other interested parties.

Liberty Media’s Chase Carey and Bernie Ecclestone

The reporter also publishes their copy to well-known news media outlets such as the Independent and Forbes.

Over the years, there has been alleged rumour that Formula Money has some kind of relationship with F1’s previous supremo, Bernie Ecclestone.

Naturally, the reporter in question always strongly denies this relationship whenever it’s mentioned on Twitter.

It’s worth noting that TJ13 does not know either way if this relationship is true or not, but simply for the record it’s probably an allegation worth noting for the purposes of this story.

The source of last nights rumour was broadcasted by none other than the Formula Money twitter account, tweeting a story published by a rather unprofessional looking blog called ‘John Wall St’. It must be noted that the Twitter account only has a meagre 1,448 followers at the time of writing, so receiving tweets from Formula Money would certainly help propagate the story hugely.

The Formula Money Twitter account seems also to have a link with John Wall St, as looking back to 1st October 2018 at 1:36PM, we see high praise from the John Wall St account of Formula Money’s owner. Of course, this could be simply praising Formula Money for being his source of material to publish in his Wall St blog……..

Today, Formula Money seems to be spreading the link to the John Wall St story as much as possible, trying to bring in well-known TV motorsport personality and often harsh critic of the way F1 has been run in recent times, Tiff Needell.

Adam Stern, a motorsport financial reporter from the US has jumped on the story from John Wall St, and been re-tweeted by Formula Money.

Lucas Di Grassi also received a re-tweet from Formula Money.

So could F1 be up for sale so soon? It’s certainly very interesting and not entirely out of the realms of believability, considering Liberty’s seeming inability to shape the rules of the sport for 2021.

The big rule change coming for 2021, actually seems like a non-starter as Liberty Media now know just how impossible it is to work any new regulation through the top teams who each have their own agenda and a vote.

Certainly cutting losses early could be preferable to continuing on with an impossible task of shaping F1’s direction without Ecclestone, the middle man and deal maker.

That being said, if Ecclestone is the source of the story via his links to the media, it could be a trick to destabilise Liberty’s position during this critical phase of talks between the FIA, Liberty and the top teams and manufacturers on the eve of 2021. Bernies’ last laugh so to speak.

UPDATE 13:00 GMT – Grandprix247.com have received a statement from F1 Media on the rumour, stating:

“Formula 1 is controlled by Liberty Media not Liberty Global…” and therefore it shouldn’t warrant “serious consideration”.

Let me know in the comments below your opinion on this rumour.

10 responses to “F1 for sale? Bernie plays trick on Liberty?

  1. Liberty group is doing well on money side, they pay a small part of the original 8 billions of the price
    half was paid by 50% of the new company to the original FOM shareholders, remain 4.
    40% of these were paid with the sport company of Liberty group … remain 60% = to 2.4 billions … covered at 70% by selling part of the https://www.zonebourse.com/LIBERTY-MEDIA-FORMULA-ONE-27316636/ who is … not a title on F1 but on Liberty group Financial … and they pay 400 millions/year on FOM result, 400×2= 800 …
    so at least it will remain around half billion not cavered at that time for Financial cost and other … they will be paid back by FOM to Liberty group in the next 2 years …
    and … liberty can sell all the F1 if they want … they will continue to drive the company with only one art of it …
    so …

  2. this is a joke … at least Liberty maintain the control on the F1 with only one part …. that’s rules …
    financially, they keep 400 millions on FOm Financial result each year … and they don’t invest more than 2 billion to by the company …
    They don’t have to sell, the just want to do more money with new investors … that’s all

  3. Similar stories have been written in the financial press before. It’s pretty much accepted that Liberty overpaid to buy F1’s commercial rights and over estimated its profit potential. Liberty Media mostly used debt for the acquisition and with Liberty Media losing money – the stock valuation is dropping. Liberty’s grand plans at this point are mostly hot-air. No high profile race in Miami or Vegas – but one in one of the poorest countries in the world – Viet Nam. Liberty are also going to have to negotiate new race fees with with a lot of promoters where at best they get what they are charging today – a more likely scenario, as is likely with Silverstone, fees will be dropped. It’s also unlikely a new Concorde Agreement is in place for 2021. It’s also pretty clear Liberty Media’s management have little idea how the sport is run.

    Whether this story is true – Liberty Media have a money losing asset, loaded with debt, that investors don’t like what they see. Something will change.

  4. I remember Bernie saying in an interview, after being sidetracked, that he felt like: “I’m a hit-man with a gun but no bullets!”

    And: “But I’ve got enough money to buy the bullets.”

    I’ve always considered that “He who shall not be named” was his wholesaler.

  5. When they sold it, CVC had already taken the future profits out of the F1 business by mortgaging the future cash flows. That income now simply washes through to pay back those loans leaving liberty with nothing but an expiring Concorde. This was the central part of a scheme to practically eliminate F1s tax bill which was well described by the F1 writer in question over many years.

    Concorde years are full of destabilizing stories like this. Liberty are just walking the same path as every other company that bought F1 without proper DD. CVC being the notable exception – maybe because they had better sources…

  6. It is pretty obvious that the rules for 2021 and beyond will be pretty much the same as they are now because Mercedes and Ferrari along with their numerous customer teams have the power to block any changes that might threaten their dominance. As for losing some of the ‘traditional’ races, Liberty don’t care too much as they are only interested in breaking into the huge online gambling market. Sadly it looks like F1 as we know it is dying a very slow death.

    • if Liberty thought they had some power to affect F1s direction at the point of sale, they sure realise now that they are powerless to steer their 8 million investment

    • Bernie was never going to meekly walk away from his ‘baby’, especially after he was publicly shunned and ‘humiliated’ by Liberty for his so-called “archaic ways of running the circus”.
      They believed they knew better … wrong!
      The bold and brash Americans will regret playing that game with him, he loves nothing more than rubbing a face or two in the muck when people defy him or take sides against him.

      I might be wrong but it seems to me Liberty want to Americanise the sport enough to attract more of their motorsport fans and in turn, more powerful American investment. Ultimately pushing out the “old school” European influences and business models.
      To achieve that goal, they want F1 cars to use the USA’s all time fave V8 engine in a bid to attract Nascar and Indy fans, they want ~30 races, at least 4 in the US, they want uniform cars and lower budgets, they want to concentrate on involving children on iPhones at the expense of the main demographic of diehard F1 fans who have kept the sport alive for over half a century.
      That’s looks like a recipe for dissolving F1 into just another insignificant ‘cloned motor racing series’ … it won’t make it bigger, brighter and better because kids can’t afford F1!

      Liberty are now regretting believing the business world has changed enough to allow them to implement their softly-softly, ‘inclusion and consultation’ approach in their negotiations for change.
      F1 is a game where the one with the most money and the biggest bite has ALWAYS won the argument.
      That was pretty much always Bernie … and that’s how Bernie got things done in a testosterone fuelled, chest-beating, political environment. F1 people of all walks respected him for leading from the front. They may not have liked or loved him for his expedient ways and means of negotiating but they definitely respected him for getting timely results.

      Unfortunately for Liberty, Bernie still knows exactly where the bodies are buried in F1. That means he’s still holding powerful positions of persuasion behind the scenes in certain areas of F1 … and he is also very much in tune with where the shiploads of potential investment are hiding in wait.
      There are plenty of his ‘billionaire mates’ out there, from industries like oil and mining, quietly waiting to get involved in another project of ‘almost certain profit’ – simply because they know it’s been set up by the almighty king of profit, Bernie Ecclestone.
      While he still can, he will use that circle of colossal influence to their collective advantage.

      His track record speaks for itself.
      Over the years, Bernie has constantly orchestrated the worth of F1 like a maestro, with the aid of his powerful business and media contacts, to take every advantage of those rises and falls.
      Buy low, sell high … multiple times. He’s won at every stage of the game and his loyal investors have also pocketed great wealth along the way.

      If this rumour is true, this could very well be his most gratifying and momentous deal, one final chance to finally create the spectacular F1 he always wanted. A lasting legacy for business historians and satisfaction-starved F1 fans to marvel over for all time.

  7. Pingback: Watch: Damning evidence that Liberty Media do not know what they’re doing with F1 | thejudge13·

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