Liberty Media expecting tough negotiations with F1 teams over new Concorde Agreement

Liberty Media expecting tough negotiations with F1 teams over new Concorde Agreement

Liberty Media expects difficult negotiations with the F1 teams as Formula 1 is set to renew the Concorde Agreement for 2026.

Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei predicts the F1 teams will wage a fierce battle during negotiations with the sport’s commercial rights holder over the 2026 Concorde Agreement.

The soon-to-be Concorde Agreement, a pact between the Formula One Group, the FIA, and the teams will be put into effect in 2026 in tandem with the new technical regulations. Furthermore, the discussions are set to unfold against the backdrop of the sport’s remarkable economic growth in recent years.

Crucial issues covered by the three-way agreement include the teams’ share of prize money and commercial rights, as well as the cap on the total number of teams that can operate on the grid—a controversial issue considering Andretti’s aim to join the grid by 2026.

Liberty Media will be negotiating its second Concorde Agreement after the current one was signed in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Liberty Media’s Greg Maffei mentioned in a podcast with James Allen that he anticipates tough negotiations to secure the final approval on the agreement mainly because the teams want to capitalize on the sport’s current upward trajectory in terms of viewership and commercial interests from big names.

“I credit the leadership of Chase [Carey] and the leadership of Stefano [Domenicali], they’ve definitely tried to set a tone for the teams that we’re not going to cut one-off deals,” Maffei explained.

“This is an open process. The teams are making a lot more money, [there is more] growth and sponsors, and that excitement that has created goodwill. 

“The teams and we will surely arm wrestle over numbers. You know, the teams would like more money, I wouldn’t be stunned, and we might want more money, they shouldn’t be surprised. That’s going to happen.”

Maffei is confident that the negotiations will reach a mutually beneficial conclusion despite the potential talks between the teams and the F1 Management Group.

“But in general, there’s pretty good feeling and agreement,” he added. “The things are working well, and it’s in our collective interest to get something solidified.

“There have been times when they started racing, without an agreed corporate agreement, and here we are several years before [it expires], and we have confidence, we’re going to get it done well in advance.”

Limiting the number of races is another key component of the Concorde Agreement. A 24-race schedule is already extremely demanding for team members, on-site reporters, and everyone else involved in the F1 paddock, according to several drivers and staff members who have voiced their concerns.

Maffei clarified that although F1 is continuously seeking for new prospects— specifically mentioning Asia—it has no plans to expand its race calendar beyond the current 24 events annually.

“We had a great race in China this year. I think there’s an opportunity in south-east Asia,” he said. “We have interest from places like Thailand, and we have Indonesia and South Korea, can we meet them all now? No, we’re locked. We’re not going above 24 races, that is set.

“We actually have the right to go to 25 in the Concorde Agreement, but I think there’s common agreement that 24 is where we’re at, we’re not going to go higher.”

The Liberty Media CEO also admitted that it is looking for the best balance between the historical circuits and races in new venues such as the Las Vegas or Miami additions.

“So we’re trying to think about the great historical venues, how do we balance them against new races?

“These are challenges, everybody wants to have a race. That’s the good news. Who can have a race; that’s exciting for fans, that helps grow the base.

“That is a great experience that actually makes good money for the teams, and so that’s a balance to try and think about where to grow.”

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