Formula One’s owner Liberty makes a good start but still has much to prove | Giles Richards

The switch from the Bernie Ecclestone era has been refreshing in many ways but the first season under new ownership has left many questions unanswered

When the Formula One season opened this year in Australia there was a genuine sense that it was a new start for the sport. An optimism informing fresh ideas was bouncing round the paddock with abandon. F1 had embraced new regulations, but what was driving the positivity was the sport’s new owner, Liberty Media, who had arrived with a vigorous commitment to taking it to a new and brighter future.

2017, then, was Liberty’s year zero. The company completed its acquisition of F1 in January and almost immediately removed Bernie Ecclestone, who had overseen its growth into a hugely successful and lucrative global sport. Ecclestone’s role in building the F1 behemoth is undeniable but he was also in charge while the previous owners, the private equity firm CVC, spent years doing nothing to promote the sport, instead relying on Ecclestone to ensure the constant flow of huge profits it yielded from revenues of up to $1.8bn a year.

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