Liberty Media’s mission statement upon arriving on the F1 scene was to create a more immersive sport. Chase Carey – leader of the ‘three wise men’ – referenced his desire to create ’21 Superbowls’ with races becoming week long spectacles which enhance fan engagement and add value for money to the ticket.
This weekend’s British Grand Prix at Silverstone seems to be the first instance of Liberty flexing their creative muscles. This will be a British GP acting as a statement of intent.
For too long, F1 has failed to showcase itself to the outsiders. Those who hadn’t already caught the motorsport bug have had very little to entice them into the F1 world and this lack of accessibility is an issue that must have been top of Liberty’s list of priorities.
This year’s British GP appears to be Liberty’s first attempt at correcting this defect, as well as allowing existing fans an opportunity to get closer to the sport. Tuesday saw the announcement of a hugely exciting event named ‘F1 Live London,’ set to take place in the heart of the capital on Wednesday evening.
In what is being described as the ‘biggest live show’ in the sport’s history, all ten teams will be in attendance presenting show cars in front of the National Gallery and carrying out demonstration runs between Whitehall and Trafalgar Square. Accompanying live music will serve to enhance what is set to be a true party atmosphere.
Safe to say, it is an unprecedented event. Never before have all of the sport’s competitors been represented at a promotional event outside a Grand Prix weekend and not since 2004 have F1 cars been seen on London’s streets.
It is yet another addition to what was already scheduled to be a bumper weekend of action at Silverstone, with F2 and GP3 cars running on Thursday afternoon. Combined with Sky Sports’ annual F1 Show hosted in front of the main grandstand on Thursday evening, Silverstone is suddenly hosting a four-day event where media day provides true value for the weekend ticket holders.
Critics have argued that the revision to the British GP timetable and announcement of F1’s London showcase has all come too late. I am among many fans who have made arrangements to attend an event starting on Friday morning and ending Sunday evening, and while heading to London on Wednesday before trekking to Silverstone on Thursday is an enticing prospect that I will ultimately have to pass on, I have no complaints.
Perspective is key.
This is a litmus test for Liberty to determine how their vision will work in reality. The passion and dedication of the British fans will allow Carey, Brawn and Bratches to properly assess their concept of Superbowl style events.
For the fans, it provides a chance to see more of the drivers, more of the cars and receive some added value from their ticket. At a time when the future of the British GP is in jeopardy, a blockbuster event with added ‘feel good factor’ is just what the sport requires.
I for one, have not been this excited for a Grand Prix weekend in quite some time. And I use the term ‘weekend’ very lightly indeed.