Formula 1’s commercial rights holder Liberty Media has been criticised for the direction it is taking the sport by grand prix promoters.
The Formula 1 Promoters Association, which consists of representatives from 16 unnamed races on the calendar, held a meeting in London on Monday in which it expressed a series of concerns over Liberty’s methods.
In a rare statement, the FOPA highlighted F1’s move away from free-to-air broadcasting as one of the key issues, with the UK’s coverage of the sport becoming exclusive to Sky Sports F1 from the upcoming 2019 season.
“It is not in the long-term interest of the sport that fans lose free access to content and broadcasting,” the FOPA said.
Concerns were also raised over a “lack of engagement and clarity” from Liberty with race promoters over new initiatives, as well as fears over the methods used to secure new events.
“There is lack of clarity on new initiatives in F1 and a lack of engagement with promoters on their implementation,” FOPA continued.
“New races should not be introduced to the detriment of existing events although the association is encouraged by the alternative business models being offered to prospective venues.”
The statement added: ”As we enter a new season of the sport that we have promoted for many decades, the promoters seek a more collaborative approach to the development of the championship and the opportunity to offer their experience and expertise in a spirit of partnership with Formula 1 and the FIA.”
Stuart Pringle, British Grand Prix promoter and boss of the Silverstone Circuit which activated a break clause in its contract - meaning this year’s event is set to be the last hosted at the Northamptonshire track - says the race promoters group has taken issue with the type of deals offered to new venues.
Pringle highlighted particular concern over the postponed plans for a Miami Grand Prix, which he claims would be a “free deal”.
“Everyone is disgruntled. Liberty's ideas are disjointed,” Pringle told The Daily Mail.
“We have all been compliant and quiet hitherto, but we have great concerns about the future health of the sport under the people who run it now.
"If this continues, Formula 1 will be racing on second-rate circuits, if any at all.”