Formula 1 is set to have a new commercial structure as managing director of commercial operations Sean Bratches will leave his role at the end of this year.
Bratches was part of the three-man management team tasked with leading F1 following the sport’s takeover by Liberty Media at the start of 2017, working alongside CEO and chairman Chase Carey and managing director of motorsports Ross Brawn. After three years, RACER understands that former ESPN executive Bratches has informed stakeholders he will leave his role after the 2019 season.
The 58-year-old has overseen a focus on growing the sport’s social media reach, while also renegotiating a number of broadcasting deals. In the U.S., there was a change in broadcaster as F1 moved from NBC Sports to Bratches’ former company ESPN at the start of 2018, on an original two-year deal that has yet to be extended.
Bratches has also delivered a number of global fan festivals with a focus on trying to expand the sport’s reach in the U.S. and China, highlighted by events in Miami and Shanghai last year, as well as Chicago and Los Angeles in 2019. The two new races to be added to the F1 calendar during Bratches’ tenure are Vietnam and the Netherlands, that will make up part of a record 22-race schedule next season.
F1 says it does not comment on contract matters regarding management, but RACER understands there is no direct replacement for Bratches lined up as the commercial structure remains under review.
The review takes place amid stability elsewhere in the management structure, with Carey and Brawn expected to continue in their respective positions as the sport works on finalizing and implementing a technical and sporting overhaul in 2021.