Gone are the days when leaders could rule with an iron fist – the same can’t be said for sport it seems. Some of the biggest sports in the world are stuck in the past with regards to their hierarchies. FIFA have all of the traits of an international crime syndicate and the managerial order of Formula One has been shady for a long time too.
F1’s new chairman, Chase Carey, appears to be on a mission to purge these darker elements within F1. His recent comments leave more than enough room for interpretation, he said,
“You’ve got to understand what everybody wants and then find a path.
That is not a task for a committee, as they tend to become bureaucratic. But there also can’t be a dictatorship, even if probably they are used to it.”
– Chase Carey
Strong words that don’t digress from directly taking aim at Mr Ecclestone. Don’t most Corporations, even beyond Motorsport, have a pyramid structure in which one individual is in charge of the operation? Is business not naturally dictatorial to some degree?
Carey plans to market the sport to the untapped American audiences, he added,
“It is too early to have a clear plan, but we clearly will have a plan to develop America, to be in the right market. There is a big untapped audience in the US. I don’t want to criticise the efforts in the past, because I don’t know the efforts in the past.
Formula 1 is a great premium brand and that means to me that you want to be at a location like Los Angeles, New York or Miami. Ideally in the great cities in the world.
I believe that a good digital product makes the television product more rewarding. Marketing the sport, in telling the story of the stars and heroes and the incredible machines. Then strengthen it geographically.”
– Chase Carey
The boxes that Chase Carey ticks so far are that he’s recognized that there needs to be a greater internal democratic process in the decision making of the sport. Involving ALL teams, instead of a few, will be vital to this working out. Secondly, he sounds like someone personally interested in the racing and the spectacle. This is already more than the previous majority owners CVC offered. They saw the sport like any hedge fund would – A cash cow for milking.
— Pinak Ghosh (@pinakghosh) September 9, 2016
The issues with the sport may however remain more technical, beyond the reach of any corporate impression or marketing scheme. Whilst it would be great to have races in LA, New York or Miami, the circuits themselves would have to offer something refreshing. Technical regulations need to allow more overtaking opportunities too. It remains to be seen whether the problem with Formula One is the previous ownership, current decision making process or something much bigger that may or may not have been addressed with this appointment – Someone who will make the sport more appealing by changing it internally as opposed to someone who excels in making the sport more appealing by marketing it brilliantly, but changing nothing.