Liberty Media have reportedly set an $8 billion price tag on F1, and are pushing for Mohammed Ben Sulayem to be replaced as FIA president as the power struggle at the top of motorsport continues.
German outlet Sport1 broke the story, which comes after Bloomberg reported Saudi Arabia’s Pubic Investment Fund attempted to buy F1 for $20 billion.
Liberty acquired the commercial rights to F1 in 2017 for $4.4 billion and have been credited with transforming the sport as it targets a 25-race calendar and potentially twelve teams on the grid in 2026.
However, Liberty aren’t finished just yet. It’s rumoured they want Ben Sulayem removed as FIA president and replaced with David Richards, the 70-year-old Brit who’s chairman of Prodrive and Motorsport UK.
Richards is the former team principal of BAR and Benetton in F1, and is reportedly seen as a more neutral choice by Liberty.
“Apply common sense”
The news comes after the spat between Ben Sulayem and F1 exploded in January 2023. After the Saudis’ huge bid was reported, he tweeted:
“As the custodians of motorsport, the FIA, as a non-profit organisation, is cautious about alleged inflated price tags of $20bn being put on F1.
“Any potential buyer is advised to apply common sense, consider the greater good of the sport and come with a clear, sustainable plan – not just a lot of money.
“It is our duty to consider what the future impact will be for promoters in terms of increased hosting fees and other commercial costs, and any adverse impact that it could have on fans.”
F1 teams hit back accused Ben Sulayem of ‘unacceptable interference’ in their rights, and the standoff seemingly isn’t mellowing if the latest news is anything to go by.