Liberty's Maffei on F1 cost cap: 'Dumb Americans' got it done!

Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei says former F1 boss Chase Carey deserves full credit for imposing a budget cap in F1, allowing "dumb Americans" to succeed where the sport's previous owners had failed.

Carey managed F1's affairs from Liberty's buy out of the sport at the start of 2017 until the end of last year when he passed the baton of chief executive to Stefano Domenicali.

The American presided over a raft of changes during his time at the helm, including the formulation of a new set of regulations that will be introduced in 2022, and his tireless efforts also helped ensure the sport's survival after the onslaught of the global Covid-19 pandemic.

But Carey's biggest achievement was perhaps to convince teams to operate under a cost cap threshold which he saw as vital to Grand Prix racing's future.

For achieving what Bernie Ecclestone and former FIA president Max Mosley failed to accomplish in the past, Carey deserved full marks insists Maffei.

"Bernie Ecclestone and Max Mosley after the '09 recession tried to get a cost cap in, and couldn't get it done," said Maffei, speaking on a recent conference call with Wall Street analysts.

"We got there. Dumb Americans, what do we know about the sport? We say we want to get it done, and they laugh at us. Chase gets it done, full credit - Chase and team.

"So Chase did an amazing job, changing the tone, setting the sport in the right direction. And above all, getting that Concorde Agreement with a cost cap. Chase remains our non-exec chair, and that relationship is valuable."

Read also: Domenicali suggests football follow F1's budget cap lead

Maffei, who hired Carey as F1's new leader, described the 67-year-old as a "warrior" who changed the historically "cantankerous" relationship between F1's management and the sport's teams.

"Chase did an amazing job. I feel guilty at times as I was the one who sold him to take the job, and then he had to go to fly around the world and deal with recalcitrant teams," added Maffei.

"And Chase was a warrior for the right thing, and has driven such good changes.

"Bernie Ecclestone built the product, and deserves unbelievable credit. But there wasn't the long-term vision. And there was a very cantankerous relationship with promoters and F1, the rights holder, us.

"There was a very cantankerous relationship between the teams and F1, us. That's totally changed, and the tone is so much better that we're in this ecosystem together and building things.

"And Chase was able to get a new Concorde Agreement done, which is such a major achievement compared to what was done before."

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Michael Delaney

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