Saudi Arabia is reportedly ready to take over Formula 1 from current commercial rights holder Liberty Media, as recently reported by Swiss German-language daily newspaper Blick. Liberty Media bought the Formula One Group in 2017, ending Bernie Ecclestone’s time as the sport’s ringmaster having been chief executive for 40 years.
Veteran Formula 1 journalist Roger Benoit, a close friend of former Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone, informs that Liberty Media is losing interest in Formula 1 which it took over from CVC Capital Partners and Ecclestone four years ago.
“The Americans seem to have lost interest in their multibillion-dollar toy. Ironically, the Saudis are now at the door with their suitcases for a takeover from the Americans.” – he explained.
The so-called ‘bombshell’ report, sketchy at best, offers no insight or clarity on a potential timeline of events or how a deal would be structured and with whom.
One of the upshots, says the report, is there could be an increase in grands prix staged in the Middle Eastern and Asian region.
Already this year, due to the pandemic, the last three races could all be held in the Middle East.
Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi are already confirmed for December 5 and 12 respectively, while a new grand prix in Qatar is expected to fill the slot on November 21 vacated by the cancelled race in Australia.
Roger Benoit, who claims, somehwat incorrectly, that Formula 1 did not evolve much since its takeover by Liberty Media, adds that a Saudi ownership of the sport would inevitably result in more F1 races taking place in the Asian, or Middle-Eastern, region.
Furthermore, as F1 struggles to uphold its original 23-race schedule following the cancellation of several races due to the global Covid pandemic, Qatar has put itself on the ranks to host a race this year, possibly filling a late November slot that remains open on F1’s 2021 calendar.