Top F1 teams at odds with Liberty over new merchandise scheme

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Formula 1's top teams are at odds with Liberty Media over a new merchandise scheme planned at races this year.

Grand Prix venues are traditionally populated with individual stalls selling team merchandise, but in its efforts to revamp the concept, Liberty is looking to adopt a one-stop 'superstore tent', a single point-of-sales of F1 merchandise for fans to enjoy.

The approach was pioneered by NASCAR in 2015 but abandoned last year following disappointing sales and negative feedback from the fan community.

Formula 1 has handed the management of its new plan to merchandise experts Fanatics who worked with NASCAR.

"We have engaged Fanatics, which is the market leader in this space and has a lot of knowledge in terms of sporting events and how product is merchandised and sold," explains F1 commercial boss Sean Bratches.

"Next year we will have a massive tent experience. You will be able to pick items up off a rack and see if it fits, then go into a queue with 15-20 registers and if you want to send it home, our partner DHL will be there to take care of it for you."

"We have done extensive research and all the race promoters support the plan," Bratches told Finland's Turun Sanomat newspaper.

However, the publication says Mercedes and Red Bull, but crucially also F1's most famous team Ferrari, are not happy with the plan.

"Throughout history, Ferrari has sold more merchandise than any other team and they have no trouble finding the red of what they are looking for," a unnamed source said.

"If the fans are impatient, they will not go to a big hall where they have to go a long way to find where they want. I believe we will lose revenue with this new structure."

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