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We won't Americanise F1, new owners promise

F1

London - The United States can be a big growth area for Formula One but Liberty Media have no desire to 'Americanise' the sport after the US company's takeover, new F1 chairman Chase Carey said on Thursday.

“We didn't make this move because of America,” he told Sky Sports News the day after Liberty announced a deal, valued at $8 billion (R112bn) including debt, that will give the American media and telecoms business effective control.

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File picture: Mike Stone / Reuters.

“America is an opportunity, I think we can do a lot more in America, it's probably more long-term than short-term,” he added.

“Realistically it's a global sport. We're not trying to Americanise the sport. We have great respect for the European foundations of it. Europe is critically important to us.”

The United States currently has just one round of the 21 race championship at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, after a series of failed attempts to secure a permanent home over the years.

However there has been talk of new races on the east and west coasts.

Meanwhile, races in the sport's historic heartland like Britain's Silverstone, Italy's Monza and Spa in Belgium have faced uncertain futures as they struggle to pay hosting fees and make a profit.

Passionate fans

Carey, who joined the sport's 85-year-old commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone in answering questions, said there was a more passionate fan base in America than people realised even if it took time to build the audience.

“Certainly the US is a big opportunity long-term but this isn't an American company Americanising the sport,” he said.

“This is a great global sport and great franchise and one we are just going to continue to build with the things Bernie's built over the prior decades,” he said. “We want to make it (F1) everything it can be.”

Carey, the executive vice-chairman of Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox and a director of Sky News owner Sky Plc, has been appointed chairman of the board of Formula One's parent company with Ecclestone remaining as CEO.

Austrian Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, 71, had been chairman since 2012 but has recently recovered from cancer and is also due to step down as chairman of Nestle, the world's largest food and drink company, in 2017.

Ecclestone is used to calling the shots, and has a famous dislike of delegating, but has indicated he can work with the new chairman.

Carey said he looked forward to the partnership.

“The best businesses are partnerships where people work together as a team,” he said. “We'll work closely and as partners and we'll figure it out.”

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