F1 Will Change Broadcast Strategy During '18 Season; McLaren's Brown Expects 'Fireworks'
Formula 1 Managing Dir, Commercial Operations Sean Bratches met with teams prior to the Christmas break to "run through ideas" for the '18 season, and "one of the biggest areas of change will be the way that grand prix racing is broadcast," according to Jonathan Noble of MOTORSPORT. McLaren F1 Exec Dir Zak Brown said that he is "excited by what is being proposed." In a guest blog on the "James Allen on F1" site, Brown said, "Before Christmas Sean Bratches presented the new F1 commercial strategy to us, the teams. There is a huge emphasis on digital, as we know, but last year was about testing things out. ... You'll see significant changes there on the broadcast, on the graphics and the storytelling." While welcoming Liberty Media's "push to improve things for fans," Brown predicted "fireworks" in its negotiations with teams about the future of the sport. There has "already been unease" from Ferrari, Mercedes and Renault about future engine rules, as well as "other concerns about a drop in commercial rights income." Brown added, "The honeymoon period is over. Some senior team executives have been openly critical of Liberty. I prefer we're constructive. They've only really had their feet under the desk for the last six to 12 months having inherited a sport previously operated pretty uniquely. ... There will be some big negotiations going on through 2018 with the teams on contract renewal and I predict that there will be public fireworks; we are already starting to see that. ... Will Ferrari really leave if they don't like the new rules? I have my opinion but we'll see how this plays out" (MOTORSPORT, 1/11).