F1 sends fire letter to FIA after allegation of ‘excessive price’.

Formula 1 bosses have accused FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem of “unacceptable” interference in the alleged sale of the sport.

Following reports of a US$20 billion (£16.3 billion) bid by Saudi Arabia to buy F1’s commercial rights, Ben Sulayem took to Twitter to voice concerns about the potential consequences of an “overstated” takeover on such their investment .

He added that a potential buyer of F1 “should bring a clear, sustainable plan – not just a lot of money”.

Sky sports news announced on Monday that his comments angered senior F1 officials, and now legal chiefs have written to the FIA ​​warning that Ben Sulayem’s tweets had “unacceptably compromised our rights”.

In a first letter reported by sky news, but also seen by sky sports news, Sacha Woodward Hill, F1’s General Counsel, and Renee Wilm, Chief Legal and Administrative Officer of Liberty Media Corporationthe majority shareholder of F1, has accused the FIA ​​- motorsport’s governing body – of going beyond its mandate.

The letter was also distributed to all 10 F1 teams. Sky sports news contacted the FIA ​​​​​​for a response but received no comment.

Ben Sulayem’s comments came in response to a report last week Bloomberg News that Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund was considering a $20 billion takeover bid for the sport in 2022.

Neither F1 nor Saudi’s Public Investment Fund have commented on the report.

The letter warned the FIA ​​that “Formula 1 has the exclusive right to exploit the commercial rights to the FIA ​​Formula 1 World Championship” as part of a 100-year deal.

“Furthermore, the FIA ​​has given an unequivocal commitment not to take any action to interfere with the ownership, management and/or exploitation of these rights.

“We believe that these comments, made through the official FIA President’s social media account, constitute an unacceptable interference with those rights.”

The response to Ben Sulayem’s comments comes at a time of heightened tensions between Formula 1 and its governing body.

The letter from Woodward Hill and Wilm also states that the suggestion contained in the FIA ​​President’s remarks “that any potential purchaser of Formula 1 business be asked to consult with the FIA ​​is incorrect “.

It added that Ben had “overstepped” Sulayem[ped] the limits of the FIA’s remit” and said that “any person or entity commenting on the value of a listed company or its subsidiaries, in particular claiming or implying having insider knowledge thereby, risks causing significant harm to the shareholders and investors of the company, not to mention the potential exposure to severe regulatory consequences.”

“To the extent that these statements damage the value of Liberty Media Corporation, the FIA ​​may be held liable.”

Contacted by sky news, An F1 spokesman declined to comment.

F1 teams are questioning the position of the FIA ​​President after recent disagreements

Analysis by Sky Sports News’ Craig Slater…

Ahead of the 2023 season, this is a major conflict at the top of the sport.

Formula 1 is owned by the American company Liberty Media and is a publicly traded company. If someone of the FIA ​​President’s rank makes an observation as to what the potential fair value is, it could result in commercial disadvantages for the company.

This is just one of several issues that have angered not only F1 but also some of the teams over the course of Mohammed Ben Sulayem’s tenure.

I’ve been in touch with a number of F1 teams and they had different views on what happened this week.

A senior figure told me there was a discussion between several teams about how long Mohammed Ben Sulayem could stay in the job.

Questions are being asked about his tenure as the (relationship) between the governing body and the commercial rights holder, and by extension the teams, becomes increasingly tenuous.

It’s as much a leadership style as anything else. It all stems from an uneasiness some people in the sport have about the agreement over a decade ago whereby the FIA ​​(then headed by Max Mosley) leased the commercial rights to a then organization for 100 years has sold operated by Bernie Ecclestone for exploitation of the commercial rights.

It was felt at the time that it was being rented out far too cheaply, and some people are seeing Mohammed Ben Sulayem publicly signaling that he was uncomfortable with this arrangement.

This runs quite deep, and it is a historic problem that the Governing Body and commercial rightsholders must contend with.

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