Formula 1 chief Stefano Domenicali does not accept he is steering the sport in the wrong direction and not merely money-grabbing as critics suggest.
Under Liberty Media F1 has changed dramatically, embracing social media and all opportunities the most watched racing series in the world that come their way.
Great TV production, an excellent FITV pay portal, a massive social media footprint are all the fruits of work put in by Domeniccali and his current team as well as their predecessors.
With American audience booming thanks to Netflix, demand for races has skyrocketed, meaning that an internal audit of who is paying what suggests some of the traditional venues such as Monaco and Spa-Francorchamps are under threat as demand exceeds what F1 can deliver in terms of race dates.
Purists believe this is sacrilege, F1 “sh!tting on their doorstep” by looking to axe the former “grand slams” of the sport, with Miami, Jeddah, Qatar, South Africa, Argentina and more wanting to get on board.
But Domenicali, formerly a Ferrari F1 boss and now in charge of the sport for Liberty Media, is adamant when he told Sport Bild: “I am not selling the soul of Formula 1.
“I believe this is the normal path to change. Money is important everywhere, also for us, but it’s not the only thing we look at; the whole package has to be right.”
Notable is the increase in F1 betting interest from Stateside, not as popular as MLB predictions or, NBA, NFL and even soccer, but punter growth is notable in this Netflix era for the port.
Stefano: If we only looked at the bank account, the race calendar would definitely look different
A motorsport powerhouse like Germany, Mercedes F1 team’s home country, cannot find the funding for a Grand Prix at their venerated venues Nurburgring and Hockenheim; steeped in F1 history the country last had a Grand Prix back in 2019.
Domenicali explained: “If I don’t make a call myself, I see and hear little from Germany, they talk, talk, talk, but in the end, you need facts. It’s a mystery to me how you can’t build a business around a Grand Prix these days but, if they get it right, we will have a race in Germany again.”
At the same time, he added: “The Grand Prix has to be worthwhile for all sides, we can’t cover all the costs.
“I always say never say never, but in this case, I can promise: We will not have any more negotiations with them. There will be no more racing there,” stated Domenicali.
Several trustworthy sources are reporting that the 2022 Belgian Grand Prix, next up could drop off the calendar, to make way for a South African Grand Prix next year.
Domenicali told reporters at the time the story broke: “There are areas of the world that want to have Formula 1 and I think one area we want to develop is the African area. The beauty of the situation we are living in today is we have a lot of options.
“And we will make the right decision, thinking about the strategy, thinking about the DNA of the sport, thinking about how every promoter wants to be involved with us,” concluded Domenicali.