Formula 1 CEO Chase Carey found grand prix promoters’ public criticism “a little strange” since it came just a day before an event scheduled to discuss their issues.
The Formula One Promoters’ Association sent a statement criticising Liberty Media for the current direction of the sport. A total of 16 promoters were said to be behind the statement while Russian and Mexican GPs distanced themselves from it.
It said: the FOPA sought “a more collaborative approach to the development of the championship” after Liberty shut down the free-to-air coverage and said there is a “lack of clarity” in the initiatives being taken by the series.
Responding to the statement for the first time, Carey told ESPN that “all three” issues were discussed in the Promoter’s meeting the next day and added that “realistically no one brought any of them up – they just put it out in a press release, which was a little strange”.
He said: “I thought that was the strangest because they put it out the night before [the meeting].
“So we already had a day set up to talk about initiatives and they – well, only a couple of guys – put out a press release saying we need to talk about initiatives.
“That was the strangest part.”
The F1 CEO was talking to the press in Baku after formally signing an extension to the Azerbaijan GP.
Carey admitted he was not surprised to find “a couple who have something to complain about” out of a group of 21 promoters.
He described the meeting that followed as “incredibly positive”.
“I thought there was tremendous support from the vast majority and they have a great appreciation for what we are doing,” said Carey.
“The fact that a few of them wanted to find something to complain about, that’s life. It’s not going to change what we are doing.
“They believe the sport, for them and in general, is in a much better place than it was a few years ago and is going in the right direction.”
F1 will add Vietnam to its 2020 calendar, along with Miami. Carey acknowledged there were too many options, and F1 is “not pursuing new venues at the expense of existing”.
He also refused to comment publicly about ongoing negotiations.
“We will talk about them when they are done,” he said “This sport seems to like to talk. Talk first, and act second.
“There are issues we have got to wrestle around and we do have others that are being aggressive about wanting to be a part of the calendar and we don’t have that many slots.”