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How F1 teams went from £1 rejects to billion-dollar forecasts

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How F1 teams went from £1 rejects to billion-dollar forecasts

Liberty’s arrival marked a significant break from the past, replacing Bernie Ecclestone’s wheeler-dealer and profit-focused approach with a broader view to growing the series.

Greg Maffei, the CEO of Liberty Media, made an interesting point to highlight F1’s growth over the past five years when speaking at the Business of F1 Forum held by the Financial Times and Motorsport Network in Monaco at the end of last month.

“One of the measures that is a real success is the health of the teams,” Maffei said. “When we entered in 2016, we made our first investment and closed on the deal in 2017, Manor, the 11th team, had just been sold in receivership for £1.

“Today, I don’t think you can buy a team for less than £500m, maybe £700m? You can try, but I think it’s going to be hard. It’s an amazing increase in value.”

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Sat next to Maffei on the stage was F1 CEO and president Stefano Domenicali, who waved his hand upwards at the suggested valuations. It may have been tongue-in-cheek, but there was a serious point behind it: realistically, you’d be talking beyond those figures if you seriously wanted to get a team to sell up.

Last year, McLaren CEO Zak Brown predicted that in “three, four or five years’ time”, we would see “F1 teams trade [at] over a billion dollars, assuming anyone wants to sell. The fact that no one wants to sell drives a premium.”

It’s a challenge that anyone with designs on joining the F1 grid must negotiate, as Andretti is currently finding out. A push to take over Sauber, which operates Alfa Romeo’s F1 operation, fell apart late last year, and efforts to now secure an 11th entry are stalling amid uncertainty about the benefits from the rest of the grid and, it would seem, F1 itself.

But there are a number of key factors that have helped charge the valuation of F1 teams, even from two years ago when Dorilton Capital acquired Williams for $150m – something that seems like a bargain now.

Alex Albon, Williams FW44

Alex Albon, Williams FW44

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Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images

F1’s budget cap

The introduction of F1’s budget cap is something that cannot be underestimated in helping not only protect the value of the teams, but push them upwards.

Introduced last year at $145m and since reduced to $140m for 2022, the budget cap is set to help level the playing field in F1 in the future, making the series more competitive and give more teams the chance to fight at the very front.

But it has also placed a ceiling on the majority of costs involved in running an F1 team, meaning that any potential buyer knows what they are getting into. There is no longer the same kind of volatility there was in previous years or risks of F1 teams turning into money pits.

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“We can talk about values, they can be high, but costs are something you will have for sure,” said Domenicali. “So the only way to make sure the margin is bigger is to control what is spent. That was a very big milestone that has changed the vision of the sport completely, and given the system credibility.

“Sustainable business means the teams can invest, can grow all the ecosystem, and all the elements that are related to our world now is secure, and financially strong. It means we can grow and we can think about a bigger future.”

Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB18

Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB18

Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images

The influx of sponsors and big tech

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The tobacco era may be widely seen as the heyday for F1 sponsorship, a time when money appeared to pour into the series and fuel many of its free-spending habits. But we are in the midst of another boom period.

Big tech companies across the world have become increasingly interested in the benefits F1 can offer not only from a marketing standpoint, but also to help further their innovations. Ahead of the new season, Red Bull named Oracle, a US tech giant, as its new title partner, and also secured a lucrative cryptocurrency deal with Bybit, with that realm also helping fuel a boom in F1 sponsorship throughout the grid.

Maffei claimed that teams are now at a point where they are having to turn sponsors away as there is “only so much room on the car to put another logo”.

“Look at how many of those cars now have a technology sponsor, if not multiple technology sponsors,” Maffei said.

“The growth in interest from multiple levels is from people who really understand the technology, and that has played a really huge part to get a sense of that technology and how that has grown in that interest among the technology communities, Silicon Valley and the like.”

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But Maffei also felt the increased popularity of F1 and wider audience it has now attracted meant that more consumer products were also eager to work with teams. “The increasing youth of our fans has brought in a load of consumer products and a whole bunch of other brands who find it appealing,” he said. “So it’s been lucky to have all sorts of sponsor interest.”

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari greets fans

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari greets fans

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

F1’s sustained growth in popularity

The impact of Netflix and Drive to Survive on increasing F1’s popularity has been talked about extensively in recent years. Yet it success has all been part of a wider strategy to open up the series more and give the means with which to connect to fans more.

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The results have been staggering. In the F1 fan survey conducted in conjunction with Motorsport Network last year, F1’s fanbase was shown to be getting younger and more diverse, with a big influx of female fans. It has helped give the series a more well-rounded audience that can be better tapped into.

“We credit Netflix for opening up for a lot of people,” said Maffei. “But it’s fascinating how many of these people have come in through different ways, like social media and gaming. You can go on and play Lando Norris and race the same track that Lando Norris does.

“Opening up the sport, making it more appealing, yes, it’s got elements of exclusivity for sure, but it’s elements that all fans can touch.”

James Bower, the commercial director of Williams, felt Liberty had been “taking the restrictions off the teams so they can engage the fans directly and help build that fanbase”. Williams recently hired the NFL’s former SVP of fan engagement to oversee its North American interests on a social and digital side. “We’re really building out our social channels, our content, and engagement with the US fanbase,” he said. “We want to create more value for the brand, but more value for our partners as well.”

The big-picture view that F1 itself and teams are taking towards engaging with fans is a huge interest to their partners, again helping to push values up. TV figures are moving in a positive direction, particularly in the United States, where ESPN continues to report record viewership numbers for races. In turn, this also helps to drive bigger fees for broadcast rights, again helping to provide more revenue to the teams.

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The surge in popularity is also reflected in the calendar, which is set to hit the current limit of 24 races next year with the additions of Qatar and Las Vegas. The demands of the growing calendar are known by all in the F1 paddock, leading to big questions about its sustainability. But from a financial perspective, it is helping the series bring in more revenue, nudging the values up as a result.

Valtteri Bottas, Alfa Romeo C42

Valtteri Bottas, Alfa Romeo C42

Photo by: Alfa Romeo

The ‘closed shop’ nature of the F1 grid

As contentious as the debate over bringing an 11th team into F1 may be amid Andretti’s continued interest, the fact the grid remains a ‘closed shop’ is a big factor that drives valuations upwards.

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The fact that not anyone can set up an F1 team helps to boost the value of each berth of the grid, similar to other sports leagues where franchises are limited, such as in the NFL. If you want to get involved, you need to purchase an existing outfit.

The $200m dilution fee required under the Concorde Agreement for any newcomers now seems far too low, with a number of team bosses expressing their doubt that a one-time payment would be enough to make up for the revenue that would be lost by getting a smaller slice of the pie moving forward.

As revenues grow, the cost cap remains stable and margins theoretically get bigger, things are only set to move one way. It’s little surprise no-one on the current grid is looking to give up what they’ve got, nor is F1 looking to compromise them, saying it is a “big reward” for them to benefit from the current boom.

“They’ve invested in us, and that’s the reason why we do believe that the community of the teams has to be respected,” said Domenicali.

“Today, it’s not a problem of having more teams, because we have a list. Some of them are more vocal than the others, but we have a lot of people or a lot of investors who would like to be in Formula 1. But we need to protect the teams. This is really another sign of a very healthy system.”

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Stefano Domenicali , F1 CEO, Greg Maffei, Liberty Media CEO, James Allen, President Motorsport Network

Stefano Domenicali , F1 CEO, Greg Maffei, Liberty Media CEO, James Allen, President Motorsport Network

Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

What will the next five years of Liberty ownership look like?

The first five years for F1 under Liberty have seen some huge changes. But looking ahead to the next five years, there is a determination to ensure the current growth is not only sustained, but fully capitalised upon.

“We have the benefit of the stewardship of a 72-year-old enterprise, so we think about the long-term and what it will do,” said Maffei.

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“We have a lot of interest now, and we want to sustain the growth of that interest, more broadly. Doing things like going to Africa and thinking about sustainability is all thinking about how do we grow this 72-year franchise for the next five years, and then the next five years, and then the next five years?

“There’s a huge amount of momentum now. We’d like to capitalise on that, not just financially, but for the growth of the sport.”

Read Also:
  • How can F1 break the deadlock over competing cost cap desires?
  • Wolff: F1 budget cap allowance would help adjust staff salaries
  • How F1 budget cap is reining in one-off developments

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SRX at South Boston: How to watch, stream, preview, drivers to watch for the Superstar Racing Experience

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SRX at South Boston: How to watch, stream, preview, drivers to watch for the Superstar Racing Experience

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The 2022 Camping World SRX Series season started with a bang last weekend at Five Flags Speedway, as the season opener played out in a completely unexpected way: Although the Superstar Racing Experience began its season on a premiere stock car asphalt short track, the battle for the win ended up being between a pair of IndyCar drivers, with Hélio Castroneves taking the lead late from Tony Kanaan and then driving away to take the win.

Between the performance of Castroneves, Kanaan, and Paul Tracy, SRX’s contingent of IndyCar stars proved they can more than hold their own in heavy stock cars. And they’ll try to prove that again this weekend at South Boston Speedway in South Boston, Va. One of the greatest short tracks in all of Southern Virginia, South Boston has produced a long line of notable NASCAR racers and champion drivers — Including Peyton Sellers, six times the track champion and this week’s local all-star.

Leading the way for the NASCAR contingent will be Ryan Newman, who started his first SRX season off with a third-place finish at Five Flags. Newman will look to establish himself as an SRX championship contender alongside fellow former NASCAR stars like Bobby Labonte, Michael Waltrip, and none other than Tony Stewart.

How to watch SRX at South Boston

  • Date: Saturday, June 25
  • Location: South Boston Speedway — South Boston, Va.
  • Time: 8 p.m. ET
  • TV: CBS
  • Stream: Paramount+
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Martin Truex Jr. confirms he will return to Joe Gibbs Racing in 2023

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Martin Truex Jr. confirms he will return to Joe Gibbs Racing in 2023

Martin Truex Jr. confirmed to reporters Friday night that he will return to Joe Gibbs Racing for the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season, ending speculation about his racing future. Truex’s current contract with Gibbs had been set to expire at the end of 2022, and he had been the subject of retirement rumors throughout the springtime.

Speaking in the Nashville Superspeedway media center, Truex made it clear that he would be back in Gibbs’ No. 19 next season, sharing that he and his race team agreed to a new contract that is still being worked on. Truex, who turns 42 next Wednesday, had spent the past six months contemplating his future.

“I wanted to just look at everything and see what it looked like both ways. The competitive side of me said I’m not done and I’m gonna keep fighting,” Truex said. “So, here we are.”

Truex’s 2022 season has yet to match to his recent standards, as he is currently winless and has just two top fives and seven top 10s despite sitting sixth in the points standings. However, Truex expressed that he still wants to race after contemplating what his life would be like if he stopped racing in Cup full-time.

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“At the end of the day, it’s really all about a fight. If I want to keep going and doing what I’ve been doing, will I be happy in a year? Is it what I really, really want to do?”Truex said. “And at the end of the day, this is what I really want to do right now.”

After winning the Cup Series championship in 2017, Truex has remained a perennial championship contender and one of the top drivers in all of NASCAR. Truex has qualified for the Championship 4 of the playoffs five times since 2015, and he has followed up his Cup title with runner-up finishes in the final standings three out of the last four seasons.

With Truex returning for an 18th full-time season, he will continue to build on his career win total (31 victories) while also pursuing both a second Cup Series title and the things he has yet to accomplish. Truex is one of the notable veteran drivers to have never won the Daytona 500, with his best finish being an agonizing second-place run in the race’s closest finish ever in 2016.

While confirming that he would return for 2023, Truex noted that his commitment was currently only for next year. Alluding to the contemplation of his future, Truex said he would “probably” go through the same process about whether he’ll race in 2024.

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2022 Wimbledon odds, picks, predictions: Proven tennis expert says Carlos Alcaraz primed for upset

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2022 Wimbledon odds, picks, predictions: Proven tennis expert says Carlos Alcaraz primed for upset

Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal could be on another Grand Slam crash course at the All England Club, where the 2022 Wimbledon men’s singles competition begins Monday. Djokovic is the top seed and Nadal is No. 2 in a men’s draw weakened by the absence of world No. 1 Daniil Medvedev and second-ranked Alexander Zverev. Medvedev is banned, along with all other Russian and Belarusian players, because of the invasion of Ukraine, and Zverev is out after suffering a serious ankle injury at the French Open. Nadal won at Roland Garros for his record 21st Grand Slam title, and his second in a row. He has won just twice in London, most recently in 2010. Djokovic has won 20 Grand Slam titles, including the past three at the All England Club (the 2020 event was canceled). Other top contenders in the Wimbledon 2022 draw include 2021 finalist Matteo Berrettini, Spanish phenom Carlos Alcaraz, Hubert Hurkacz and Felix Auger-Aliassime.

Caesars Sportsbook lists Djokovic as the clear -140 favorite (risk $140 to win $100) in its latest 2022 Wimbledon men’s singles odds, with Matteo Berrettini priced at +550 and Nadal at +650. Alcaraz, who could meet Djokovic in the quarterfinals, is +800 and Hurkacz and Auger-Aliassime are priced at +1400. Before making any men’s 2022 Wimbledon picks or predictions, you need to see who tennis expert Sean Calvert is backing.

Calvert is the famed handicapper who called Stan Wawrinka winning the 2014 Australian Open at 60-1 — the last Australian title won by someone other than Novak Djokovic or Roger Federer. In 2019, Calvert took down a huge score on Dominic Thiem winning Indian Wells at 80-1, among many stunning calls. 

Now, Calvert has scrutinized the latest Wimbledon 2022 odds and released his coveted best bets to win it all. He’s sharing all of his expert picks and analysis at SportsLine.

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Top 2022 Wimbledon men’s predictions

One surprise: Calvert is fading Alcaraz, who has become one of the favorites of oddsmakers over the past several months. But the 19-year-old is in the quarter of the draw with Djokovic and has a serious lack of experience on grass. He has played just two senior matches on the surface, and Medvedev breezed past him in three quick sets in the first round last year. He comes in this year having played none of the warm-up events because of an elbow injury.

Alcaraz is 32-4 overall this season, including a quarterfinal loss to Zverev at the French Open and a semifinal setback to Nadal at Indian Wells. He has won two titles on clay and one hard-court event, and he has the talent to compete anywhere. But he faces a tough first-round opponent in Jan-Lennard Struff, and his lack of experience on the surface could bite him at any time. Calvert says it wouldn’t surprise him too much to see the rising star go out in that first-round match.

How to make 2022 Wimbledon men’s picks 

Instead, Calvert is backing two huge underdogs to reach the final who both come in at 40-1 or higher. Both of these players should be able to take advantage of the weakened draw and are capable of pulling off major upsets. See who they are at SportsLine.

So who wins the 2022 Wimbledon men’s singles title? And which long shots could make a serious run at the Grand Slam title? Visit SportsLine now to see Sean Calvert’s bets for Wimbledon 2022, all from the renowned tennis expert who called Wawrinka winning the Australian Open at 60-1, and find out. 

2022 Wimbledon odds, favorites 

Novak Djokovic -140

Matteo Berrettini +550

Rafael Nadal +650

Carlos Alcaraz +800

Hubert Hurkacz +1400

Felix Auger-Aliassime +1400

Nick Kyrgios +1800

Stefanos Tsitsipas +1800

Marin Cilic +2000

Andy Murray +2500

Denis Shapovalov +3500

Taylor Fritz +5000

John Isner +5000

Jannik Sinner +5000

Cameron Norrie +5000

Casper Ruud +6500

Tim Van Rijthoven +6500

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