Lawyers representing F1 and Liberty Media wrote a letter, seen by Sky Sports, saying that FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem had overstepped his bounds in publicly discussing F1’s value.
- The letter was triggered by tweets from Ben Sulayem, who was responding to a Bloomberg report that Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund was interested in bidding $20 billion for F1.
- Ben Sulayem called that figure an “inflated price tag” and asked potential buyers to “consider the greater good of the sport and come with a clear, sustainable plan — not just a lot of money.”
- He also suggested that a huge purchase like that could lead to “increased hosting fees and other commercial costs” and have an ”adverse impact” on fans.
The letter stated that “Formula 1 has the exclusive right to exploit the commercial rights in the FIA Formula One World Championship” under a 100-year deal, and that Ben Sulayem’s tweets “interfere with those rights in an unacceptable manner.”
The letter, which was distributed to all 10 F1 teams, noted that the implication “that any potential purchaser of the Formula 1 business is required to consult with the FIA is wrong.”
Some at F1 are reportedly wondering if Ben Sulayem will eventually be ousted as FIA president.
While many F1 teams have bristled at the notion of adding more teams to the grid, Ben Sulayem has taken steps to open a process to vet potential new entrants.