Red Bull team principal Christian Horner fears Formula 1 teams could feel the pinch of Liberty Media’s changes to the sport until potentially 2021 as the new owners invest in other areas with the aim of improving the overall picture.
F1 teams have seen a small dip in prize money from the 2017 season as Liberty has injected money into key switches which include rebranding the sport, new fan engagement ideas and moving its headquarters. Liberty has also invested in new staff and personnel to fill the void of removing previous head Bernie Ecclestone, with Horner hints the loss of the Malaysian Grand Prix this year also made a dent into overall revenues.
While Horner has faith in Liberty’s plans for F1, the Red Bull boss has warned of a potential delay in increasing prize money and income for the next few years and fears it could last until 2021.
“I think with the structure that’s been put into place, hopefully dividends and benefit will come – but it’s going to be a little bit further down the road,” Horner said. “Probably we’re looking at 2019, 2020 and particularly 2021 before we’re going to see the fruits of their investment.
“Inevitably as they’ve invested in an infrastructure their costs have gone up. The model that they have, compared to the previous management, obviously is significant different – but perhaps, in the world that we live in, it’s appropriate for where the commercial rights holder wants to take the sport. So it’s inevitable that they’ve got to invest.
“At the same time revenues are slightly affected by Malaysia not renewing, but I think the rights holder made a very generous offer to those teams that want to take it to effectively advance monies to ensure that the money next year available to the teams is the same as this year and the latest forecast, on an interest-free basis. They’ve offered to basically fund that bridge for those teams that wish to take it.
“They’ve moved premises, they’ve moved offices, they’re running a different ship to how Bernie operated it. Bernie was the salesman, he was a one-man show, which was always going to be unsustainable because there was no individual that could single-handedly replace him.”
Despite losing the Malaysian Grand Prix from 2018, F1 welcomes the return of both the French and German races to the calendar with an expanded 21 rounds. Recent FIA rule changes have also opened up the possibility of more promotion events like F1 LIVE in London as part of this season’s buildup to the British Grand Prix.