Always a long and laborious read, the Formula One Group (FWONA) CEO Stefano Domenicali on Q4 2021 results and earnings call transcript, is often peppered with interesting tidbits – the best of which we have extracted for our readers.
The 8,500 plus words transcript of the F1’s last such meeting, on 25 February, was interesting in that it outlined the bullish plans for the future of the sport, particularly the forthcoming season in which he relishes the prospect of Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen, and their respective teams Mercedes and Red Bull resuming their battle for supremacy.
In attendance were: Courtnee Chun, Chief Portfolio Officer; Greg Maffei, President & Chief Executive Officer, Liberty Media Corporation; Brian Wendling, Chief Accounting & Principal Financial Officer and Stefano Domenicali, F1 President & Chief Executive Officer
With conference call participants: Vijay Jayant, Evercore-ISI; Ben Swinburne – Morgan Stanley; David Karnovsky – JPMorgan; Jason Bazinet, Citi; David Joyce, Barclays Capital; Stephen Laszczyk, Goldman Sachs; Doug Mitchelson; Credit Suisse and Matthew Harrigan, Benchmark.
Domenicali: We are extremely excited to welcome the Miami Grand Prix
Speaking during the call, Domenicali said: “The 2021 season will be discussed for decades to come as one of the greatest. It came down to not just the final race, but to the final match for Max Verstappen to edge pass Lewis Hamilton and win his first World Championship.
“We look forward to this continued rivalry in 2022, between Max and Lewis, who will be returning to pursue his eighth World Championship and we hope to see new drivers moving up the field to challenge for poses more regularly.
“We look forward to the start of the season of March 2022 in Bahrain. We have a record 23-race Season plan and are scheduled to return to many tracks we could not visit in 2020 and 2021.
“We are extremely excited to welcome the Miami Grand Prix to the calendar in May and again reached a unanimous agreement with the teams and the FIA to again have the Sprint at three venues this year; Imola, Austria and Brazil.
Significant driver changes this season set to shuffle the driver pecking order
Domenicali touched on the driver front: “We look forward to the new pairing of Lewis Hamilton and George Russell, the return of Alex Albon and we welcome a new driver from the grid with Guanyu Zhou joining Alfa Romeo, who would provide excitement opportunity to engage and grow our fan base in China.
“For 2022 there are many changes to the cars and regulation, all aimed at improving racing and increasing relevance to road car technology. The most visible change will be the switch from 13 inches to 18 inches tires with covers.
“This along with the other changes to the regulation have the goal of reducing their dynamic way coming off the cars with the aim of allowing for closer racing and more overtaking.
“Safety is also a focus and the new 2022 cars will be able to absorb more impact at the front and laterally. Additionally, more components of the car are now standardized, which should help keep cost down and promote closer racing.
“In addition, changes will also include the implementation of E10 fuel in the F1 cars comprising 10% ethanol which will reduce CO2 emission and a free zone performance development for the Power Unit from March 1st.”
We have recently made many exciting announcements driving future growth for our sport
Domenicali continued: “On the racing front, we extended race agreements in China through 2025; Singapore until 2028; Abu Dhabi until 2030; Spain through 2026; Bahrain until 2036; and Circuit of America through 2026.
“Each of these locations brings something unique to the calendar and we appreciate this long-term partnership in which our sustainability goals will feature prominently.
“On the sponsorship front, it is a busy time with robust interest and a very strong pipeline of discussion ongoing. We expect to announce further details soon on a number of opportunities that have been progressing in the past few weeks.
“On media rights, due to the closure of business Fox Sports channels in October 2021, we successfully concluded nine new partnerships across Southeast Asia, securing new broadcaster in Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Brunei, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, and Myanmar.
“We also extended our existing partnership with Disney Japan and India. In addition to this we will also have a new partnership in the Netherlands for the start of 2022 Championship Season with the Viaplay, NENT’s new streaming platform.
“We continue to invest in our ESG initiatives to address the biggest issue facing our sports and global communities. Sustainability is a major focus for Formula One and many of our promoters’ partners targeting areas where we can have greatest environmental and social impact.
“Our initiatives can take many forms including 100% sustainable fuels in the 2026 hybrid engine, renewable energy sources, targets around net-zero carbon emission, reducing the capital footprint, increasing recycling efforts, significant savings on overall energy costs and a large initiative working with our promoters partners on event sustainability,” concluded Domenicali.