FIA rejects 'malicious' remarks over F1 sale

FIA rejects 'malicious' remarks over F1 sale

16 February 2017 – Formula 1's governing body, the FIA, has released a statement responding to what it has described as "malicious" comments over the sale of the sport to Liberty Media.

Liberty Media, having outlined plans back in September, formally completed its $8 billion takeover last month, with Chase Carey replacing Bernie Ecclestone as Chairman and CEO.

It has been suggested that the FIA held a conflict of interest, given its one per cent stake in F1's previous holding company, Delta Topco, and need to approve Liberty's deal.

Earlier this week, a call for an investigation into anti-competition practices in F1, led by South East Labour MEP Anneliese Dodds, was backed by European Parliament members.

Dodds has criticised the current prize money system in F1, while she has also expressed concerns about Liberty's recent takeover and the sport's UK tax arrangements.

However, the FIA has published a statement to clarify its position.

Full statement from the FIA:

"Following the unanimous approval by the World Motor Sport Council of the change of control of Delta Topco Limited (the holding company of the Commercial Rights Holder of the FIA Formula One World Championship) from CVC Capital Partners in favour of Liberty Media Corporation on 18 January 2017, the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) has been made aware of certain declarations and comments, clearly inaccurately informed or made maliciously, relating to this process.

"Firstly, the prize money allocated in the Formula One World Championship is done so in accordance with the bilateral agreements that exist between each team and the Commercial Rights Holder (CRH). The FIA has no knowledge of these agreements.

"Secondly, there is no conflict of interest on the part of the FIA with regard to its approval of the change of control of the CRH which has been approved by the World Motor Sport Council taking into consideration exclusively the terms of the existing agreements between the CRH and the FIA and the best interests of the Championship.

"As per the Agreements made in 2001 for 100 Years, the FIA could only have withheld its consent in the event that the change of control would materially alter the ability of the CRH to fulfil its obligations; it is obvious that the taking of control of the Formula One Group by Liberty does not create such a risk, and nobody has ever suggested a different view in this respect.

"The FIA would naturally be happy to demonstrate the absence of any conflict of interest to any competent authority that may so request.

"Once again, the FIA looks forward to its collaboration with both Liberty and the Formula One Group to create a constructive relationship that will ensure the continued success and the development of the FIA Formula One World Championship in the long term."

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