Baku: FOPA statement 'went a bit wrong'

  • 07 Feb 2019 10:06
  • comments 3
  • By: Fergal Walsh

The promoter of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix says that the critical statement the Formula One Promoters' Association (FOPA) sent out last week didn't give the message Baku intended.

Days after the statement was sent out, Baku announced that it had signed a contract extension with F1's owners Liberty Media, a deal that sees it remain on the calendar until 2023.

Baku was represented at the FOPA meeting, in which it highlighted its biggest issues with Liberty Media. The group of promoters released a statement to the media which included its annoyance at F1 disappearing behind a paywall on TV and new races entering the calendar at the expense of current ones.

"We are members of FOPA and I was present at that meeting, but it was never the idea to attack Formula 1 and never the idea to push them into doing something that they are not," executive director of the Baku Street Circuit Arif Rahimov told ESPN.

"The idea of FOPA was that all the promoters gather as one and speak with one voice about things that are not in their contract and things that are changing in their industry and to be able to help Formula 1 improve the sport.

"The way it has been accepted as a complaint to Formula 1 through the press, this was never meant to be a press release, it was more a way of us directing our concerns to Formula 1 about what can be improved in one voice.

"I think it just went a bit wrong. It was accepted [by the press] a bit wrong and obviously Formula 1 wasn't quite happy with the way it was dealt with. I think it was a lesson learned and the future cooperation between FOPA and Formula 1 will be more productive and less destructive."

Rahimov affirmed that the message sent was not an attack on Liberty Media, but more of an overview of minor changes, including the sport's decision to ban grid girls following the 2017 season.

"Again, it wasn't meant as an attack, it was a way to address Formula 1 with our concerns and find a way to fix it. So it wasn't really an attack on Formula 1 in the way it was presented in the press. It shouldn't have happened like that, it was meant to be very positive and open and in the end it just went upside down.

"It's more just small things, like grid girls in the past -- a lot of promoters weren't aware that this was going to change and then they found this change. All those small little things that promoters want to be aware of on an advisory level, just so we know before it appears in the press.

"In general, whenever we have a concern of an issue, we rarely face a situation where we hit a dead end and don't know how to fix it. We are very happy with our relationship in general and our direct relationship with F1, and that is why we have signed and extended our contract."

Replies (3)

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  • 2GRX7

    Posts: 63

    Dang, Mr. Rahimov! That's one BIIIIG broom you're wheeling there (sweeep,sweep)!Hahaha!

    • + 0
    • Feb 7 2019 - 15:37
  • Pathetic. FOPA can suck it. Suddenly everyone whines about the direction of the sport when Liberty seems to actually be working every year to improve things, and have already improved things. Where the hell were all these whiners the last 18 years with Bernie destroying the sport in slow motion. Refusing to used digital media and reach young audiences.

    • + 0
    • Feb 7 2019 - 15:44
  • Ganda... Uhm... Mexican GP looks back at Baku and the other GPs as its hanging on the edge of the cliff. "Flee, you fools!" Mexico said. And then, he fell. As his state budget withdrew, Mexico plummeted to the abyss below. Eyes filled with disbelief, Baku shouts Mexico's name, again and again, all the while withdrawing the earlier so bravely stated words of victory.

    • + 0
    • Feb 7 2019 - 19:47

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