Steiner: Liberty needs time to show returns

Steiner: Liberty needs time to show returns

Formula 1

Steiner: Liberty needs time to show returns


Haas team principal Guenther Steiner has called on Formula 1 to have patience with new owners Liberty Media after the first public dissent from the teams over future power unit plans.

The joint proposal from the FIA and F1 regarding the future engine regulations after 2020 was met with a negative response by Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault. That was then followed by a drop in year-on-year revenue being announced as part of Liberty’s financial results for the third quarter, although that was partly due to there being one less race in the same period.

With the teams receiving prize money based on the sport’s revenue – dropping from $316 million to $273m for the quarter – Steiner (pictured at right with F1 chairman Chase Carey) was asked if he was worried about the pot going down for the first time, to which he joked: “No, I’m really happy about it! The less we get the happier I get!

“No, I wouldn’t say I’m worried about it. It’s a concern but if they can explain that there are investments made and in the end there is more coming in, then that’s their job. They’re promoters and they need to promote the sport so that we get more money. So if they can explain that one and how they will do it, then I’m fine.

“I think it’s all in a phase where this is happening – and it’s a big business Formula 1. You cannot from one day to the other change things. It will take 12-24 months to know if it was worth that investment or not, but at the moment they just need to convince us that it’s worthwhile investing.

“We have no vote in what they invest – that is their discretion because they own the business. We just have to go with it and then in a year or two the verdict will be out if it worked or not, then if it didn’t work we are unhappy.”

Asked about Niki Lauda’s comments that he was concerned about the future direction of F1 under Liberty, Steiner added: “I’m not pessimistic about it, to be honest.

“As always we have concerns. I think it comes back to the fact that the easiest thing is always to do the same and if there is change then nobody wants change. I mean, in normal life if something changes you have difficulty to change to it.

“Niki was with Bernie [Ecclestone] for the last 60 years I guess, so for him change maybe is more difficult to accept than for other people. He needs to be convinced and that’s the job of Liberty Media, to tell Niki and let him know what their plan is so he gets a good understanding of what it wants to do and maybe they can make him happy. But Niki will understand when it’s explained more about how they want to do it.”