There are many uncanny similarities between Liberty Media’s takeover of F1 and the surprising, possibly apocalyptic appointment of Donald Trump as the President of the United States.
Like President Trump’s face-value rhetoric, Liberty Media are putting America first. The new owners of Formula One are keen to get a second United States Grand Prix on the calendar, with Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Miami possible venues for what will surely become a gem on the calendar. There’s also talk of the sport becoming “Superbowled”. Before neglecting the idea, consider that Liberty Media don’t mean this in the sense that they’ll be sticking an ad onto your screen every couple of laps. Instead, the focus is on extending the race weekend by preluding F1-related events prior to Practice sessions on Friday so that fans attending can get into the F1 mood.
OUT WITH THE CONVENTIONAL ESTABLISHMENT
Bernie Ecclestone’s departure from the sport marks arguably the biggest change in leadership in Formula One history. His way has delighted some, angered many, but undoubtedly turned the sport into a global phenomenon over the years. The appointment of Chase Carey and Ross Brawn brings in a new direction. Trump’s victory is similar as he comes from beyond the conventional establishment in that he was a non-political figure, similar to Reagan the actor and Carter the peanut farmer. Whether he is “draining the swamp” or filling it with his own goop will become clearer with time.
Liberty Media want to exploit digital channels in a way that Bernie Ecclestone lacked the intuition for. A digital subscription with official streaming might be a way to attract fans unwilling to subscribe to the SkySports F1 package. Similarly, POTUS is more active than ever on Twitter, his policies capitalised in 140 characters or less and a great deal of anger aimed towards CNN. SAD!
AN UNPREDICTABLE FUTURE
Liberty Media’s appointment comes as a much needed refresh at the top. The sport is finally rid of Ecclestone, who’s position at the top had been riding on his past achievements for far too long. Chase Carey and co. have been saying the right things in the press regarding rule simplification, digital exploitation and Silverstone preservation, but the future does remain murky. Similarly the future of the United States is anyone’s guess. George Orwell’s 1984 has ironically sold out on Amazon suggesting that a great deal of readers might have an idea as to what’s going on…
There are of course many differences too. If Liberty Media were to fail, it would see a decline in ratings for Formula One. If Trump fails, just count the mushroom clouds you can see through your window and determine how long you have. Maybe your last hour could be spent watching the new F1 digital subscription package.
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