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Liberty Media CEO insists F1 sale 'not in our cards'

Speculation over a potential sale of Formula 1 to Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund emerged earlier this year.

Formula 1 commercial rights holder Liberty Media has no plans to sell the World Championship, following speculation that it could be sold to the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund earlier this year. President and CEO Greg Maffei spoke at the recent MoffettNathanson Inaugural Technology, Media and Telecom conference and confirmed that any sale to the Saudi PIF is "not in our cards." “Is there any chance we’re going to sell this thing and incur corporate tax?" said Maffei. "That should stop any discussion that anyone says that our friends, the Saudis, are going to buy it next week or something like that? If anybody knows us, they should know that’s just not in our cards." Reports emerged in January earlier this year which claimed Saudi Arabia was offering a $20 billion bid for the championship, which prompted a statement from FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem saying potential buyers should "apply common sense" instead of "a lot of money." F1 responded with an explosive warning to the FIA over "inflated valuation" comments and claimed the president's comments "interfere[d] with our [commercial] rights in an unacceptable manner."

Liberty still 'enthused' by F1 direction

Maffei said that Liberty Media is still "enthused" about the direction F1 is taking, with the company seeing further opportunities to increase the amount of revenue it receives from the championship. “We are very enthused about where Formula 1 is now but [also] where it’s going as well. You look at the big revenue streams there, all have good direction," he continued. "In broadcasting we have increased fans and we have increased distributors who want to push the product, including new digital distributors and the like. We have promoters who are our partners." F1 plans to release a Hollywood film in the future starring Brad Pitt and produced by Top Gun Maverick's Jerry Bruckheimer, which Maffei previously claimed could be bigger than the popular Drive to Survive documentary series on Netflix.

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