“Well, you would have never heard a promoter talk out about Bernie, because they wouldn’t have had a grand prix the following year,” Horner said about the FOPA statement. “He had a different way of doing business.
“The problem is, the way Liberty are trying to operate in a democratic way… the promoters are getting far more from Liberty than they ever got previously in terms of freedom and ability to do things there would be stronger restrictions on.
“The more you give, the more instinctively they want. Bernie ran a really tight and hard ship, it was a dictatorship in that if you didn’t like it, you wouldn’t have a race the following year. It’s just a different way of operating.
Horner feels the American company is still trying to adapt to the culture of F1.
“I think one thing Liberty finds frustrating is a lot of this business is conducted through the media. That’s something they’re not used to with American sport. There’s that constant comparison of America sport and franchises verses Formula One — American sport works in America, it doesn’t work globally. Formula One, the learning curve they’ve had is that is has a different appeal in different markets. It’s still one of the biggest sports in the world and you can’t necessarily just apply U.S. sports approach to something that’s already 60, 70 years old as a global world championship.”
“We’re seeing initiatives like esports coming in that are all positives, but it’s the content of what the sport is that needs the focus at the moment. You can window-dress and promote a movie as much as you like but if the movie hasn’t got substance and isn’t an exciting movie, people won’t watch it. I think it’s the content of what is Formula One that needs addressing for 2021 onwards.
“The teams will have one opinion on that as they all want to protect their own positions and interests, but as the owner of the sport they need to take a position of ‘this is what we want Formula One to be, here’s the set of regulations and here’s the financials’, and go with it.
“The more concerning question is what is their blueprint, both financially and regulatory in line with the FIA, for what they want Formula One to be from 2021 onwards. It already looks like the engine will stay the same and that’s obviously been a fundamental issue over the last four or five years so we need to ensure that engines don’t become an enormous performance differentiator like we’ve had in the early periods of this hybrid era.”
When asked if he felt the current bosses were right for Formula One, Horner replied: “Only time will tell. They’ll be judged on what Formula One becomes in 2021.”
Source : ESPN Images: Getty