‘In reality’: Formula 1 addresses Saudi Arabia rumour

Speculation has been rife that Saudi Arabia could make a huge bid for the commercial rights to Formula 1.

Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei has stated that Formula 1 is not for sale amid media speculation that Saudi Arabia could make a $20 billion bid for the commercial rights to the sport.

Formula 1 has been booming in popularity around the globe, reflected in the addition of two new American races on the season calendar in recent years.

“I consider that to be mere speculation, but the matter still made waves,” Saudi Arabia’s sports minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki bin Faisal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud said.

“Given the situation in the stock market, the likelihood that in the short term we decide to sell is extremely unlikely,” Maffei stated in an investment call.

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“It would only have a negative impact on us and not benefit our shareholders. It’s funny, because I came across comments that we even discussed the price, but in reality these meetings never happened,” he added.

Liberty Media is seemingly more focused at the moment with the imminent renegotiation of its commercial agreement with teams, known colloquially as the ‘Concorde agreement’, as the current deal next season.

The agreement covers the rules and distribution of television revenues, as well as prize money. 

“If you recall, more than two and less than five teams asked for loans from Formula 1 in order to survive,” F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali told Speed Week recently.

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“Thanks to the measures we have taken, we are financially viable and this has added value to the company. All the teams recognise that,” he said.  

“So when the time comes, we’ll sit down and I think the teams will understand what we think is the right strategy,” Domenicali added.

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Formula 1 officials are confident that a deal will be signed before the deadline gets close, preventing a stressful situation amid discussions between teams, the FIA and the sport’s owners.

The current deal came into effect at the start of 2021 and covers the period up to the end of the 2025 season.

Liberty Media is optimistic that a swift renegotiation will show the world that the sport is united and prepared for growth in the coming years.