Carey: I have caught the Formula 1 bug

Chase Carey

Formula 1’s new supremo Chase Carey has summed up his short tenure in what is becoming a trademark honest and forthright interview, revealing plans for the future to make the sport healthier, encompassing all the interests stakeholders.

Asked by Auto Motor und Sport to sum up his six months at the helm of Formula 1, Carey responded, “Half a year is exaggerated. Let’s say three months. These consisted of listening, watching and learning. I certainly feel more at home than at the time I started. But I am still learning, and that will continue for a while. I discover something new every day and have 30 years to catch up.”

“I can say the Formula 1 bug caught me. It is exciting, interesting, complex. There are so many angles. The drivers, the cars, the teams. One gets infected very quickly. That’s why I think we need to provide a better experience for the fans so they can experience the same as I do. The better they understand the sport, the more they will love it.”

“There is great potential to grow the sport, both the on-track elements and the business side. The positive surprise for me was that all parties show the will to change. I have not experienced any negativity from the teams, the organizers orthe FIA. Everyone sees the opportunity to improve the product.”

“Yes, the sport was a one man show, and I think we all need to be grateful to Bernie Ecclestone for what he has created. But there is also an excellent organization under it that allows us to take the next step. We do not have to reinvent everything, but can rely on very good people.”

With regards to improvements, Carey explained. “Today you have to go directly to the fans. You can no longer expect them to come to you by themselves. The digital platforms open up many avenues for us to do that. They will be an important tool for us, but the first step is better marketing.”

“We must be able to tell stories. We need heroes in the cars. The fans want to follow their idols. If you do not offer them the opportunity to do so, they will lose interest and turn to something else. Formula 1 has interesting stories to tell. We also need to share information and data with the fans.”

“Pirelli recently took us to their garage and explained the tires in all the details. I found this incredibly exciting. We need to find ways to bring this information to the people in an entertaining way. The more you understand these things, the more interested they become. And this applies to all areas of this sport.”

At the same time Carey is adamant that the F1 management ethos has to change, “We need to revise our decision-making processes. No more shooting from the hip. If we introduce something new, or change things, then it should be well thought out. We want to make the sport as exciting as it can be, and I’m sure we can do it. If the races are good, it is much easier to build up all the hype and excitement.”

Asked to compare himself to the dictatorial style of Max Mosley or the laissez-faire approach of Jean Todt, Carey pointed out, “I do not want to compare myself to Max Mosley and Jean Todt, because I do not know them well enough.”

“Bernie was a one man show. I do not intend to continue this one-man show. That is why I sit with Ross Brawn and Sean Bratches together at a table. Both have incredible experience in their field. They build the team of people they need for their work.”

“I want to keep the team small and the decision-making less bureaucratic. I want my people to work independently, take responsibility, have clear goals and take calculated risks, without playing the cowboy shooting in all directions. I expect transparency, so everyone is to be held liable for his own actions,” added Carey.

Big Question: How do you rate Chase Carey and his team’s first six months at the helm of Formula 1?