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Controversy in F1 over the words of the FIA ​​president

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Controversy in F1 over the words of the FIA ​​president

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Did you think that the preseason was being quiet?

After it was made public that Saudi Arabia had submitted an offer of 20,000 million dollars to buy Formula 1, the president of the FIA, Mohammed Ben Sulayem, expressed his concern about the consequences of selling the rights to the category for a amount that he considered excessive.

Sulayem asked for common sense through Twitter and argued that the direct consequence of such an operation could cause inflation in F1, with the probable increase in fees by promoters, which in turn would have consequences for the viewer, So the ticket prices would also go up.

“As guardians of motorsport, the FIA, a non-profit organization, is wary of the alleged inflated values ​​of $20 billion assigned to F1. We ask any potential buyer to exercise common sense and consider the good of sport with a clear and sustainable plan, not just with a large amount of money,” he said.

“It is our duty to consider what the future impact will be for promoters in terms of increased fees and other commercial costs, as well as any adverse impact it may have on fans,” he added.

Whether Ben Sulayem’s message is correct or not, we cannot forget that the work of the FIA ​​is currently limited to being the governing body of the championship, being responsible for legislation, but in no case for commercial rights. These, in fact, are in the hands of Liberty Media, who bought them in 2016.

Before, and after signing a 113-year contract with Max Mosley (former FIA president) at the end of the 90s, they were owned by Formula One Management (Bernie Ecclestone) and, later, by CVC Capital Partners until the sale to its current owners.

For this reason, from Liberty Media, they have considered that the president of the FIA ​​has exceeded the limits of his duties, as they have let him know through a letter, which has also been sent to the teams.

In the letter, signed by the general counsel of the F1 Board of Administration (Sacha Woodward) and by Renee Wilm, legal officer of Liberty Media, it is stated that:

“The FIA ​​has made an unequivocal commitment not to do anything that would prejudice the ownership, management and/or exploitation of the (commercial) rights of F1. We consider that the comments made from the official account of the FIA ​​President on social networks interfere with those rights in an unacceptable way”.

And he continues, referring clearly to the consequences that his words can have on the company:

“Ben Sulayem has exceeded the limits of his powers in the FIA. Any individual or organization that speaks of the value of a publicly traded entity or its subsidiaries, especially if they claim or imply insider knowledge, risks causing damage. to shareholders and investors of that entity, not to mention the potential exposure to serious regulatory consequences.”

Since the letter came to light, there have been no public reactions either from the FIA ​​or from Formula 1, and it is not expected that there will be any, since a war between the two parties does not benefit either of them, and much less the teams.

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