McLaren executive director Zak Brown wants fans and sponsors to focus on the positive moves being made for the future of Formula 1 by new owners Liberty Media but accepts in the “politically-charged environment” of negotiations may continue to dominate the headlines.

Liberty Media’s honeymoon period with F1 was firmly halted by Ferrari President Sergio Marchionne’s quit threats towards the end of 2017 having been offered an overview of the future direction of the sport regarding cost caps, revenue retribution and future regulations.

Ferrari received backing in its views from Head of Mercedes-Benz Dieter Zetsche when he confirmed the German manufacturer’s vision was “100% aligned” with the Italian brand.

McLaren’s Brown, a firm backer of Liberty’s future plans for F1, feels during the negotiation period over the next two years more power-grabbing moves made via the sport’s media will continue to dominate the headlines.

“Chase [Carey, Formula 1 chief executive] has repeatedly asked us in meetings if we can keep our negotiations behind the scenes but as you all know media is a powerful influence and in negotiations it can play an important part,” Brown said. “We probably won’t achieve this nice and quietly behind the scenes.

“People need to recognise every sport goes through this and recognise it is a politically-charged environment. I think sponsors and people in the sport need to take comfort in the fact that we will get it done as we always have.

“You’d rather have channelling the great news of a new owner who is investing in the sport and we are going to have a new deal in place and they are focusing on the fans. I hope people can focus on that while the noise of negotiations goes on but that will make some exciting headlines in the process.

“We’ve got great ownership moving the sport forward and that is what I hope the fans focus on over the noise of negotiations.”

Brown has urged F1 to gets the majority of the key issues resolved by the end of 2018 particularly around revenues distribution, future F1 regulations and cost capping to provide teams with enough time to prepare for their introduction. F1’s current Concorde Agreement concludes at the end of 2020 with key rule changes set to be installed from the 2021 season.



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