F1 looking for ’better TV deal’ in USA
"We believe that Formula 1 simply belongs in the United States"
Formula 1 is now turning its focus to a more lucrative television rights deal in the United States.
F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali freely admits that the American market is a "massive focus" for the sport, as Las Vegas is added to an ever-expanding calendar alongside existing US-based races in Miami and Austin.
"We believe that Formula 1 simply belongs in the United States," he is quoted by Sky Deutschland.
"We want to make the American market the most important one in the sport."
F1’s commercial rights are owned by US-based Liberty Media, with its CEO Greg Maffei insisting that the next piece of the jigsaw puzzle will be an American driver.
"I think with an event like the one in Las Vegas and all the other things we do in the US, it only makes it more likely that we’ll have an American driver soon," he said.
Domenicali agrees that an American driver is "very important" from a "commercial point of view".
Also important is a better television deal, as the current deal with Disney-owned ESPN is apparently not as lucrative as it might be.
"This year we’re on ESPN and next year we’re looking for a broadcast partner," Maffei told CNBC. "We have a lot of interest.
"They (ESPN) got a very good deal because we’ve had a rise in popularity and they’ve capitalised on that as well."
He confirmed that the next US TV deal is "likely to be at a much better price for us".
At the same time, Maffei insists that Liberty Media "will not forget" that "Europe is the birthplace" of Formula 1, even if it is a "global sport today".
McLaren supremo and Californian Zak Brown, however, thinks the sport could actually survive without its flagship grand prix, with other historic mainstays like Spa-Francorchamps also in doubt.
"I would prefer Monaco to stay on the calendar, but just as the sport as a whole is bigger than any individual driver or team, it is also bigger than any individual grand prix," he told Reuters.