Zak Brown: F1 needs to rebalance its ecosystem
McLaren’s Zak Brown believes that Grand Prix racing has reached a crossroads and that the sport’s new owners, Liberty Media, must “rebalance the ecosystem” to make F1 viable for everyone.
The 45-year-old American marketing genius was hired by McLaren to lead its quest for a main sponsor and stabilize a foundation rocked by poor performance, shareholder disputes and leadership changes.
In an interview with the Financial Times, Brown insisted that the sport’s future will be dependent on making it cost effective for every team involved, from the top to the bottom of the grid.
“What you see in Formula One is the top of the grid is working great, and then as you go down the grid, you have teams in big financial trouble at the back,” says Zak Brown.
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“We have racetracks that can no longer afford to put on races even though they are healthy events. We have some fans that can’t afford to go to races anymore because of how much tracks need to charge.
” I think we need to rebalance the ecosystem to make sure that F1 works for everyone that participates.”
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On the subject of McLaren’s lacking of a main title sponsor, Brown admitted the prime advertising space on the side of McLaren’s cars will likely remain empty for one more year, but smaller deals will materialize.
“I definitely would be shocked if I didn’t have some commercial contribution in 2017,” Brown said.
It’s been said that following the ousting of long standing McLaren chairman and CEO Ron Dennis last November, that Brown’s main mission is now to reinvigorate the company’s finances for the purpose of selling the company down the road.
But Brown was numb on the subject, saying that focus is returning McLaren to world championship status by the end of the decade.
“That [selling the company] is for the shareholders to decide . . . I would not be surprised to be sitting in a McLaren uniform at a Grand Prix 10 years from now.”
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