Carey says Liberty is giving F1 'fresh momentum'

ABU DHABI -- Formula One CEO Chase Carey says Liberty Media has taken steps in 2017 to build a stable foundation for the sport after years of being "underserved by a continual short-term focus" under Bernie Ecclestone.

Earlier this year Carey accused his predecessor of stunting F1's growth in the previous era. Since Liberty Media's takeover was confirmed at the start of the year the American media company has taken many steps to distance itself from the Ecclestone era, prioritising fan engagement and launching a new logo for the sport after the Abu Dhabi finale.

Despite some talk in the paddock of dissatisfaction among teams at Liberty's aggressive investment during its first year in charge, Carey argues that the sport was crying out for additional investment.

"We were clear that really in the short term we're investing in building the sport for the longer term," Carey said. "I've said it before: I think the sport has been underserved by a continual short-term focus. I think we've got some fresh momentum back into it.

"A lot of things that were not going in the right direction in recent years, but this year attendance is up, viewership is up and I think we've got a much more positive spirit behind it. The sport needed fresh energy and investment.

"To grow things, well, to use an American phrase, there are no free lunches. We didn't have an organisation that was able to properly develop, to build the sport. We had no research, we had no marketing, we had no digital organisation and realistically if you don't have capabilities like that, you are going to fall behind."

Recently there have been reports of apprehension among some team bosses at how aggressively Liberty has invested in the sport since the takeover. The overriding fear is that loss in revenue and profits could result in a shrinking the prize money pot, but Carey has responded with the old adage that in order to make money, you have to spend money.

"When you're building a digital organisation, usually you have costs before you get returns. If you're building research capabilities, normally you have to invest in those before you get to use them. It's the reality of building capabilities that haven't existed. To do things like the Trafalgar Square demo, to do things at broader fan fests, requires investment. However, all are investments in the future of the sport.

"From the teams' perspective, sure, everybody would like to have free lunches and get the growth without the investment. The world doesn't work that way. I think that there is an understanding of and an appreciation for what we're doing, and in many ways we're very much agreed on what needs to be done for the sport."