Brawn: Formula 1’s popularity is the merit of Liberty Media’s special approach.

Following Liberty’s takeover of Formula 1 in 2017, the sport has significantly increased in popularity.

The opening of social media and the popularity of the Netflix series Drive to Survive has attracted a younger and more diverse audience to the sport.

Formula 1 seems to be in better shape than ever, even if some of Liberty’s moves, such as the introduction of sprint races, have not met with universal approval from die-hard fans.

In spite of his resignation as managing director of Formula One’s motorsport division, Brawn believes that the strength of Grand Prix racing today is due to Liberty pursuing a strategy that its previous owners overlooked.

Speaking to, Brawn explained: “I think Liberty have done a great job.”

“I would say this, but they employed me! And while I say that, they recognised that they wanted to improve the sport. They didn’t just come in and say ‘how can we improve the margins?’

“Their mindset was: ‘There’s this great sport, how can we take the sport forwards? Because the rewards will come when we take the sport forwards, not by squeezing more juice out of the lemon.’ And Greg [Maffei] and Chase [Carey] had that vision. And, luckily, I had the opportunity to be involved.

“Therefore I think Liberty have taken a great approach. Certainly, if you look at the history of owners in Formula 1, they’re the only ones that I’ve seen do it – and I’ve been here quite a long time.

“If you look back, I can’t think of many owners that put that sort of investment into the sport. I won’t tell you my budget, but it was a substantial budget to do that work we did. And that’s a commitment, which is paying off now.”

Despite the fact that things seemed to be going extremely well, Brawn made it clear that there was no complacency among top athletes and that things would continue this way in the long run.

“I think it’s pretty good, I mean, we can’t be complacent, but we’ve got huge interest in Formula 1,” said Brawn referring to the current status of F1.

“What’s pleasing is there’s a new demographic coming through with a great balance of diversity – particularly gender diversity in that new demographic. And that’s really encouraging.

“We’ve got to make sure we retain our sort of core, long-term fans – we don’t want to alienate them. And that’s why I say I think the integrity of the racing is critical.”

The 68-year-old believes Saturday races have brought something new to the sport, even if some fans still do not like the sprint concept.
He’s also not entirely against reserve races, even if he thinks that would be going too far.

“There’s always this debate about reverse grids,” he said. “Reverse grids would be pretty entertaining. I think most of us would love to see what would happen.

“But there is an element of our fans who think that’s getting too synthetic, too World Wrestling sort of thing, and that you should reward the best guys and so on. I get that as well and I think we’ve got to be very cautious on that side of things.

“You have a sprint race [now]. And, for me, a sprint race can only add because it’s a competition, it’s a contest, best guy wins, smartest guy wins – it’s a meritocracy. It’s just an additional demonstration of the drivers’ talents during a race weekend. I think the sprint is great.

“I can’t see why anyone would really have a problem with that. That should, if they’ve got an open mind, appeal to all our fans. I can see why a reverse grid could be divisive and could unsettle some of our fans and that’s something we’ve got to [keep in mind].”