F1 Meets Speed, Royalty, Fashion, and Music – ‘Zak Brown Agrees with Liberty Media about Fans’ Engagement’

Splash Magazine spoke with "Zak Brown" who is the Executive Director of McLaren Technology Group

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The new owner of Formula One is ‘Liberty Media Corporation”  and F1 is now owned by an American investor for the first time in its history. ‘Liberty Media’ are owners of an extensive range of media, communications, and entertainment businesses such as the Liberty SiriusXM Group, the Braves Group, and now the Formula One Group (ownership of 100%). F1 began in 1950 as an iconic global motorsports business. The 2017 FIA Formula One World Championship has been running from March to November and spans 20 races in 20 countries across five continents.  Formula One is a unique global sport that dominates an entertainment franchise, attracting hundreds of millions of fans each season from all around the world in the following countries:  Australia, China, Bahrain, Russia, Spain, Monaco, Canada, Azerbaijan, Austria, Great Britain, Hungary, Belgium, Italy, Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, USA, Mexico, Brazil and Abu Dhabi. ‘Liberty Media’ acquired a great market of diverse nationalities which is an enormous opportunity to help Formula One transcend and continue the development of a complex, expensive, and technology savvy sport. The new owner can benefit the sport itself to evolve to new dimensions of fans, teams, and investors around the globe.

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In the 1950s and 1960s,  Monaco’s reputation for speed and glamour was indelibly marked onto the public’s consciousness. It was the golden era of F1 when Grace Kelly who was one of the most famous actresses of cinema married Prince Rainier after both met in Monaco. Nowadays, the Formula 1 brand is a powerful symbol of power and prestige where technological excellence marks the challenges of each team to maintain its competitive pinnacle in the motor racing sport. The business of Formula 1 is about quality, speed, and the ultimate test of man and machine. In the process of advancing the sport, it is necessary to have the best drivers, engineers, and designers with teams backed by multinational corporations. Formula 1 spends vast sums of money and employs the latest technology to gain a competitive edge and its brand represents glamour, speed, and technical excellence worldwide. However, big changes are needed to make the sport more recognized and appreciated in the US, especially since many new generations of immigrants from different countries reside in North America.

F1’ identifies a unique genre of motor racing which has a long and distinguished history. ‘Formula’ referred to the unique set of regulations governing the cars, while the ‘1’ denoted the championship’s status as the highest level of international motorsport recognized by the governing body, the FIA. The evolution became the revolution in the early ‘80s as former team owner Bernie Ecclestone led the championship’s commercial explosion, attracting bigger sponsors and bigger television audiences.

Today’s teams, each responsible for designing and constructing their own car with each fielding two drivers who individually contest the drivers’ championship. As the current crop of stars competes for a wheel to wheel, the world champion is unlikely to be crowned until the last event of the season. Only the world’s best drivers make it into the championship.

Splash Magazine spoke with “Zak Brown” who is the Executive Director of McLaren Technology Group. Brown plays a very important role at McLaren and he is also responsible for both the commercial and strategic operations of the Group, and plays a critical role in re-aligning and transforming the entire organization behind the goal of ambitious performance and growth. He told us that the regulations in F1 need some modifications since the vocabulary is so difficult to understand. He also talked about the growth of the fan base in the US and the possibility of having tours around the main and most important cities with more diversity in the US such New York, Miami, Los Angeles, or Las Vegas. 

Photo: Splash Magazines
McLaren Honda- Photo Splash Magazines
Photo: Splash Magazines

The expansion of F1 is necessary at this point since everything is about connection and fan engagement with social media. It is not only important to connect Formula 1 with hundreds of millions of fans in the US, but also around the world by boosting sponsorship. We know the older crowd of F1 doesn’t want to change the concept of Formula 1 compared to events like the “Super Bowl,” but changes are required to achieve the evolution, expansion, and the success of a classy and competitive sport of Formula 1 globally. We don’t only want the celebrity singing on a stage, we also want to see drivers talking on the same stage about their experience on the track with the musician, singer, model, athlete or actor/actress in the spotlight! We want to get to know them on a personal level to build up the fanbase, and we need a wide diversity of celebrities from different countries and languages on each stage at the F1.  The drivers are as charming, exciting, professionals as any other celebrity, and hard workers. We need to make them role models for the new generation.

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Follow Yenis Monterrey (Writer) Twitter @Foxactress Instagram @YenisMonterrey


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