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Saudi Arabia interested in acquiring the commercial rights?


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#1 alframsey

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Posted 14 September 2021 - 08:58

I can’t find a thread about this. I saw a article on planetF1 which sighted a Blick report which says that Liberty have lost interest and that the Saudis are knocking at the door, with a desire to bring F1 more into Middle Eastern and Asian nations.

What do we think?

https://www.planetf1...ula-1-takeover/

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#2 Myrvold

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Posted 14 September 2021 - 09:16

I dont know what "we" think. I do know that I am tired of sportwashing.

#3 William Hunt

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Posted 14 September 2021 - 09:20

I think that F1 should always keep the most races in Europe, that's where it originated from and that's where it's culture is based. Too many races devalues a GP win. It already does'nt feel special anymore to win a GP with so many races per year. There are already quite a lot of races in the Middle East and sure they're willing to pay big bucks but they don't have a fan base there. South America could use a second race imho (Argentina?), Africa needs one to make it a true world championship and Asia could use another one too: a return to India would be nice. And if they could lure a Japanese car manufacturer (back) in F1 then I wouldn't mind two races in Japan (lovely country with passionate F1 fans). But more races in the Middle East? No thanks. Abu Dhabi is the worst track on the calendar, Bahrein is a very good circuit imho and Saudi Arabia could be spectacular but I'm not excited about Losail (Qatar). Off course in the end it's money that rules. But it's not in the interest of all the teams either.
As a team you would want to race in a country like Germany. Why? Because it's one of the biggest markets in the world and teams could easier get sponsors that are active in that market with a race there. So getting more tv money does not weigh up against losing potential sponsors imho.


Edited by William Hunt, 14 September 2021 - 09:22.


#4 Jon83

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Posted 14 September 2021 - 09:21

I think that F1 should always keep the most races in Europe, that's where it originated from and that's where it's culture is based. Too many races devalues a GP win. It already does'nt feel special anymore to win a GP with so many races per year. There are already quite a lot of races in the Middle East and sure they're willing to pay big bucks but they don't have a fan base there. South America could use a second race imho (Argentina?), Africa needs one to make it a true world championship and Asia could use another one too: a return to India would be nice. And if they could lure a Japanese car manufacturer (back) in F1 then I wouldn't mind two races in Japan (lovely country with passionate F1 fans). But more races in the Middle East? No thanks. Abu Dhabi is the worst track on the calendar, Bahrein is a very good circuit imho and Saudi Arabia could be spectacular but I'm not excited about Losail (Qatar).

I'm sure Ocon and Ricciardo disagree with you.



#5 William Hunt

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Posted 14 September 2021 - 09:23

I'm sure Ocon and Ricciardo disagree with you.

 

Oh but they won in Hungary and Italy. Those races were already part of the F1 calendar when it had just 16 races so they would have won anyway  :D   ;)

If they make sure that the competition is a more level playing field: well that is much more important for midfield teams as a large calendar with 1 or 2 teams winning most of the races, if not all.


Edited by William Hunt, 14 September 2021 - 09:25.


#6 ensign14

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Posted 14 September 2021 - 09:44

That's the W Series ****ed then.



#7 Gambelli

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Posted 14 September 2021 - 09:46

That's the W Series ****ed then.

 

Haha, I came on to say 'well, there goes the chance of a female F1 driver'

 

You beat me to it!



#8 Lights

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Posted 14 September 2021 - 09:51

That's the W Series ****ed then.

You have that backwards, it could be a boost for the W Series and female drivers. The whole idea of sportswashing is to pretend to the world that you are caring about human rights, equality, etc. While in the background surpressing your own citizens. Saudi Arabia would love hosting W Series. They already offered it last year.

#9 Gambelli

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Posted 14 September 2021 - 10:05

You have that backwards, it could be a boost for the W Series and female drivers. The whole idea of sportswashing is to pretend to the world that you are caring about human rights, equality, etc. While in the background surpressing your own citizens. Saudi Arabia would love hosting W Series. They already offered it last year.

 

Ironic, they'l be allowed to race, but not drive themselves to the track!!!!



#10 Fatgadget

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Posted 14 September 2021 - 10:07

I dont know what "we" think. I do know that I am tired of sportwashing.

What the heck is sportwashing?



#11 Astandahl

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Posted 14 September 2021 - 10:07

We race as one movement will flourish for sure then



#12 BRG

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Posted 14 September 2021 - 10:13

Ironic, they'l be allowed to race, but not drive themselves to the track!!!!

Women are allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia now.  One of their reforms to move the Kingdom into the 20th century.  If not the 21st.



#13 Lights

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Posted 14 September 2021 - 10:20

What the heck is sportwashing?

This is a good start: https://forums.autos...rfidity-thread/

#14 statman

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Posted 14 September 2021 - 10:21

isn't there a saudi female driver in F3/F4/GT racing?

 

Hamda ...don't know her last name?



#15 Ali_G

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Posted 14 September 2021 - 10:22

Women are allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia now. One of their reforms to move the Kingdom into the 20th century. If not the 21st.


How progressive.

#16 noikeee

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Posted 14 September 2021 - 10:23

What the heck is sportwashing?

The term has an useful Wikipedia page.
 


#17 Risil

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Posted 14 September 2021 - 10:25

A new word for an old thing.

#18 ForzaFormula

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Posted 14 September 2021 - 10:27

Would not be good at all to have such an extreme country to human rights to be getting the commercial rights to F1.

 

While the media is lost on Afghanistan and the Talban taking women's rights away, you to go Saudi Arabria it has been like that since forever, while some places they may be trying to let them have a bit more freedon, in many locations there women are locked away without even being able to look out the window, nevermind the more sinister stuff going on to women and children.


Edited by ForzaFormula, 14 September 2021 - 10:29.


#19 cpbell

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Posted 14 September 2021 - 10:48

That's the W Series ****ed then.

I fear so.



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#20 absinthedude

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Posted 14 September 2021 - 11:00

Have Liberty lost interest? Or are they just admitting they don't actually know what to do with F1? they still seem to be trying, but other than the genuine triumph of achieving something akin to a full season in 2020 they're not really coming up with ideas that most fans or people involved find useful. 

 

Would the Saudis be any better? I can stomach involvement from a private Saudi company but not from the Saudi government or rulers. 



#21 PayasYouRace

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Posted 14 September 2021 - 11:03

Trying to think of the least likely change Saudi ownership might bring. Maybe a return of grid girls in skimpy outfits.

#22 Spillage

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Posted 14 September 2021 - 11:08

I can't think of few less appropriate moves. We race as one indeed...

#23 cpbell

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Posted 14 September 2021 - 11:10

Trying to think of the least likely change Saudi ownership might bring. Maybe a return of grid girls in skimpy outfits.

More likely to have a ban on women in the pit lane in the manner of Indianapolis.  Interestingly, AFAIK, that rule was only removed when the first women attempted to qualify for the 500 in the 1970s.



#24 noikeee

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Posted 14 September 2021 - 11:10

Have Liberty lost interest? Or are they just admitting they don't actually know what to do with F1?


Or they're getting a good bid for it.

I think they've done a *very* successful job in increasing F1's value and profile the last few years, by engaging with the fans dramatically more, and also applying things like the budget cap which improves the sustainability of the sport on paper, therefore increasing the value of each of the 10 franchises.

However clouds hover the near future of F1 - will society keep accepting a sport which is mostly all about burning fossil fuels for fun, when everyone else switches away from fossil fuels?

I think it's a fantastic time to sell from Liberty's point of view. They've increased the value, they'll likely sell it for a profit, now get rid of it ASAP before climate change and society change puts pressure on it.

#25 BRG

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Posted 14 September 2021 - 11:13

However clouds hover the near future of F1 - will society keep accepting a sport which is mostly all about burning fossil fuels for fun, when everyone else switches away from fossil fuels?

Hmm....I wonder where those fossil fuels mostly come from?



#26 alframsey

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Posted 14 September 2021 - 11:19

I really wouldn’t be happy about this if it happens, many problems with having involvement from the Saudi royal family or rulers and it sends a strange message to youngsters who follow the sport.

I just genuinely hope it doesn’t happen, I hate the Saudi rulers and royal families. Truly their ideology is a barbaric one.

#27 noikeee

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Posted 14 September 2021 - 11:21

Hmm....I wonder where those fossil fuels mostly come from?


Why does it matter to this discussion?

We know most main car manufacturers are switching to sell only electrics. We know most developed countries are switching to ban the sale of new fossil fuel vehicles. Doesn't matter whether you think this is a good thing or misguided. What matters is what will this do to the commercial value of F1 as an entertainment business. And my guess is it'll hurt it quite a lot.

#28 Widefoot2

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Posted 14 September 2021 - 11:22

Women are allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia now.  One of their reforms to move the Kingdom into the 20th century.  If not the 21st.

Depends on whether you're on MBS's naughty list.  Then it's more like the 15th century.



#29 DeKnyff

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Posted 14 September 2021 - 11:24

However clouds hover the near future of F1 - will society keep accepting a sport which is mostly all about burning fossil fuels for fun, when everyone else switches away from fossil fuels?

 

I can see two even bigger problems than that: the generalized lack of interest of young generations for motorcars, which they see like a functional device for going from point A to point B and the social rejection for the concept 'driving fast', which makes you a criminal when until the nineties, driving fast was cool.

 

Very sadly, i don't think future is bright for motorsports.



#30 DeKnyff

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Posted 14 September 2021 - 11:31

I'm not a fan of the Saudi regime at all, but let's be honest, they (and other monarchies from the Persian Gulf) have been involved in Formula One since they started sponsoring Williams in the late seventies. And their presence has been growing since then. It wouldn't be a huge surprise that they took, at least partially, the ownership of the sport.



#31 absinthedude

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Posted 14 September 2021 - 11:38

More likely to have a ban on women in the pit lane in the manner of Indianapolis.  Interestingly, AFAIK, that rule was only removed when the first women attempted to qualify for the 500 in the 1970s.

Wasn't Bette Hill amazed that there were no ladies toilets at IMS because she wanted to do Graham's lap times from the pit wall, as was common for wives to do in F1. Equally the Indy old guard were flabbergasted that a woman wanted to enter the pits and be involved in running the team! Graham was also aghast that the men's toilets had no doors on them.

 

I do know that the Indy old guard were quite worried about "Gentlemen, Start Your Engines" when Janet Guthrie qualified. Wasn't it changed to "In company with the first lady to qualify for the Indianapolis 500, gentlemen, start your engines". I have a recollection that against expectations, AJ Foyt was one of the most helpful regarding women driving at Indy. 

 

As for the Saudis, I actually wouldn't expect much (if any) negative change. They would be buying the rights in order to promote Saudi Arabia and/or Saudi business interests. That would not be achieved by going backwards in terms of equality for women, queer folk, people of colour and so on. But I am not exactly enthusiastic about the idea. 



#32 Collombin

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Posted 14 September 2021 - 11:55

More likely to have a ban on women in the pit lane in the manner of Indianapolis. Interestingly, AFAIK, that rule was only removed when the first women attempted to qualify for the 500 in the 1970s.


The rule was changed in 1970 I think, so not directly related to a woman driver attempting to make the field.

#33 cpbell

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Posted 14 September 2021 - 12:02

The rule was changed in 1970 I think, so not directly related to a woman driver attempting to make the field.

OK, cheers.



#34 ensign14

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Posted 14 September 2021 - 12:03

Why does it matter to this discussion?

Because if Saudi Arabia takes over F1, you can bet that Saudi Arabia will make bloody sure that it becomes an advert and showcase for petrol technology.

 

And then governments will ban it and we'll have Formula E for ever.



#35 baddog

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Posted 14 September 2021 - 12:03

Might actually finally lose me anyway. I dont have many standards but I do have SOME.



#36 ensign14

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Posted 14 September 2021 - 12:04

I do know that the Indy old guard were quite worried about "Gentlemen, Start Your Engines" when Janet Guthrie qualified. Wasn't it changed to "In company with the first lady to qualify for the Indianapolis 500, gentlemen, start your engines". I have a recollection that against expectations, AJ Foyt was one of the most helpful regarding women driving at Indy. 
 

 

There was an argument that the driver did not start the engine, but a mechanic, so Janet Guthrie could safely be overlooked when giving the command.  Hence a move to have one of the Hulman women press the starter.

 

AJ gave Guthrie a run in a spare car in 1976, because he wanted to show that, yes, a woman could make qualifying speed, when given something a bit better than the POS with which she had been saddled.  AJ had his hands full going for no. 4 so didn't adopt her into his team for that year, but Guthrie raised enough eyebrows for a proper go the next year.
 



#37 cpbell

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Posted 14 September 2021 - 12:05

Wasn't Bette Hill amazed that there were no ladies toilets at IMS because she wanted to do Graham's lap times from the pit wall, as was common for wives to do in F1. Equally the Indy old guard were flabbergasted that a woman wanted to enter the pits and be involved in running the team! Graham was also aghast that the men's toilets had no doors on them.

 

I do know that the Indy old guard were quite worried about "Gentlemen, Start Your Engines" when Janet Guthrie qualified. Wasn't it changed to "In company with the first lady to qualify for the Indianapolis 500, gentlemen, start your engines". I have a recollection that against expectations, AJ Foyt was one of the most helpful regarding women driving at Indy. 

 

As for the Saudis, I actually wouldn't expect much (if any) negative change. They would be buying the rights in order to promote Saudi Arabia and/or Saudi business interests. That would not be achieved by going backwards in terms of equality for women, queer folk, people of colour and so on. But I am not exactly enthusiastic about the idea. 

I recall reading Graham's amazement at the missing doors, but I'd not heard the part regarding Bette wanting to sit on the pit counter as she, Helen Stewart and several others did.  Wasn't there a race somewhere (F2?  France?) where the official lap chart was modified as the result of a group of the wives pointing out that the officials had made a mistake?



#38 cpbell

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Posted 14 September 2021 - 12:05

Might actually finally lose me anyway. I dont have many standards but I do have SOME.

Same.  I'm already planning on not watching the Saudi GP this year.



#39 PayasYouRace

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Posted 14 September 2021 - 12:07

More likely to have a ban on women in the pit lane in the manner of Indianapolis. Interestingly, AFAIK, that rule was only removed when the first women attempted to qualify for the 500 in the 1970s.


Puts things in perspective. Time wise, the western world isn’t that far ahead. Things can be changed for the better, and a bit of outside pressure will certainly help.

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#40 cpbell

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Posted 14 September 2021 - 12:08

Puts things in perspective. Time wise, the western world isn’t that far ahead. Things can be changed for the better, and a bit of outside pressure will certainly help.

Weren't the Indy old guard pretty antediluvian even by the standards of the US Midwest at the time?



#41 Collombin

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Posted 14 September 2021 - 12:11

Hence a move to have one of the Hulman women press the starter.


I think George Bignotti's wife Kay (a daughter of Lou Meyer iirc) was the starter.

#42 noikeee

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Posted 14 September 2021 - 12:37

Because if Saudi Arabia takes over F1, you can bet that Saudi Arabia will make bloody sure that it becomes an advert and showcase for petrol technology.

 

And then governments will ban it and we'll have Formula E for ever.

 

That was kind of my point.



#43 jjcale

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Posted 14 September 2021 - 12:49

The Saudis own big chunks of lots of assets and corporations ... but quietly, through front companies.... this new thing of openly buying up marquee assets is a bad idea for them IMHO - and especially as as they are now often not buying just as Saudis but as the Saudi state ... . They really do not understand how much they are disliked. The folks they interact on these deals with are all sucking up to them because of their money and they think that everyone else feels the same way about them. ... so, for instance, they simply cannot understand why the Newcastle FC deal got paused and they keep coming up with stupider and stupider ideas to move it forward.  

 

Generally, I like what the Prince is doing to try to modernise Saudi and boost the image abroad, but they should go back to being in the financial shadows. Taking over high profile western assets is counterproductive to the overall strategy of burnishing Saudi's image - at least for the time being. 

 

Very often they can be stopped from themselves by regulators who will not approve sales ... I would expect the FIA to have something to say about a Saudi takeover .... assuming that this is not fake news - which I suspect it is.  



#44 Piif

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Posted 14 September 2021 - 12:58

If Saudis buy the whole thing, I'll stop watching.

#45 ensign14

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Posted 14 September 2021 - 12:59

The Newcastle deal wasn't paused because people dislike the Saudis.  The pretext was Saudi was hijacking the Premier League's tv deal with a Qatari television station.  The real reason is that the other slave-traders and Putin's mates and so on had an effective veto because Saudi would completely blow them out of the water financially.



#46 Vitesse2

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Posted 14 September 2021 - 13:12

Wasn't Bette Hill amazed that there were no ladies toilets at IMS because she wanted to do Graham's lap times from the pit wall, as was common for wives to do in F1. Equally the Indy old guard were flabbergasted that a woman wanted to enter the pits and be involved in running the team! Graham was also aghast that the men's toilets had no doors on them.

Bette didn't attend Indy in 1966. Getty has a photo of her, Samantha and Damon greeting Graham and Jimmy on their return: https://www.gettyima...8?adppopup=true

 

This one is even captioned 'Bette Hill, the wife of racing driver Graham Hill, after watching her husband's win at the Indianapolis 500 on a closed circuit television, UK, 30th May 1966.' https://www.gettyima...9?adppopup=true

 

Fay Taylour had complained about not being allowed to race there in the 1950s though - not that she was in any way good enough!
 



#47 Fastcake

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Posted 14 September 2021 - 14:52

This isn’t the first time over the past 12 months that rumours have emerged of Liberty being disappointed with owning FOM, and sniffing around for a potential exit.

I’m fairly certain Formula Saudi would not go down well with anyone.

#48 engineblock1

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Posted 14 September 2021 - 15:06

Because if Saudi Arabia takes over F1, you can bet that Saudi Arabia will make bloody sure that it becomes an advert and showcase for petrol technology.

 

And then governments will ban it and we'll have Formula E for ever.

If anyone can promote and buy cars with alternative techs, it is them who have money to buy (currently) overpriced electric cars etc. They are already attempting to move their economy off dependency on oil so not sure why would they want to go against the wind here.

Maybe they decide to promote alternate motor tech to look more futuristic instead.



#49 LucaP

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Posted 14 September 2021 - 18:01

isn't there a saudi female driver in F3/F4/GT racing?

Hamda ...don't know her last name?


Amna Al Qubaisi and I love her

#50 SlipperyDiff

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Posted 14 September 2021 - 18:10

The journo Benoit and Bernie are friends. Don't know if there's much more that can be said.