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F1 and Liberty Media furious: 'This oversteps the bounds'

F1 and Liberty Media furious: 'This oversteps the bounds'

24 January - 15:07 Last update: 17:33


Formula 1 and Liberty Media have sent a critical letter to the FIA in response to messages recently posted on Twitter by Mohammed Ben Sulayem. Formula 1 calls Ben Sulayem's posts unacceptable, the BBC.

In his messages, the FIA president addressed a recent Bloomberg article. It stated that the government of Saudi Arabia would have tried to buy Formula 1 from Liberty Media in 2022. The amount involved was said to be $20 billion.

Ben Sulayem called the price tag speculative and stressed that potential buyers should bring more than just money. Indeed, the high amount would mean that the cost of everything related to Formula 1 would skyrocket. It was striking that Ben Sulayem sent these messages at all, as Formula 1 and Liberty Media had not yet responded to Bloomberg's reporting, and Ben Sulayem seemed to indirectly suggest that Liberty Media would indeed be willing to sell the sport.

'He's out of line'

Formula 1 and Liberty Media are not at all pleased with Ben Sulayem's reports. "This oversteps the bounds of both the FIA's remit and its contractual rights. The FIA is liable for any damages to Liberty's value."

The letter further stresses that Formula 1 "has the exclusive right to exploit the commercial rights in the FIA F1 World Championship. The FIA has given unequivocal undertakings that it will not do anything to prejudice the ownership, management and/or exploitation of those rights. The posts from the FIA presidents official social media account interfere with our rights in an unacceptable manner. The circumstances in which the FIA would have any role in a change of control of the F1 group are very limited. Any suggestion or implication to the contrary, or that any potential purchaser of the F1 business is required to consult with the FIA, is wrong."

The letter concludes with: "We hope and trust that it will not be necessary to address this issue again."

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