SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Red Bull team principal Christian Horner believes Liberty Media’s takeover of Formula One will help the sport crack the U.S. market and bring in a strategy to ensure the long-term success of motor sport’s most prestigious series.
The deal struck earlier this month is valued at $8 billion including debt and gives the American media and telecoms business effective control of a sport run for so long by British chief executive Bernie Ecclestone.
“From what we’ve heard so far it sounds very positive,” Horner told reporters after free practice for the Singapore Grand Prix on Friday.
”They are part of a very serious group and I can’t believe that a company like Liberty would buy into Formula One at a value rumored to have been purchased at without having a long-term game plan.
“Rather than a venture capitalist of financial institution buying into the sport, I think its far better for Formula One that a company like Liberty have bought in and that will address some of the areas where we have been weak previously,” he added.
”Hopefully for the U.S. market, that could be a great thing and on other platforms like digital and social could also be very interesting.
“So we’ll wait and see what their plans and details are but what we’ve heard so far sounds pretty positive.”
The Briton is also keen to see Liberty play a leading role in Formula One’s strategy in an arena where the teams are often at loggerheads over the future direction of the series.
“If you take a simplistic view of it, the promoter is there to promote the sport and should dictate what product they want Formula One to be,” he added.
”The regulator is in there to regulate and then the teams are in the participants and entrants.
”It’s not so much what’s going to happen for 2017-18, it’s what does the future beyond 2020 hold in store?
“What is the vision of the promoter going to be for Formula One and what the product should be like. How it’s going to engage with the fans, how it’s going to improve the show for the future past 2020, I think that’s the key element.”
Editing by Pritha Sarkar