Chase Carey says Stefano Domenicali, who will succeed him as Formula 1 CEO at the start of 2021, is ideally suited to being at what he calls “the eye of a storm”.
In an interview in the latest edition of F1’s Beyond the Grid podcast, Carey explains the reasons for offering the job to the ex-Ferrari team principal, with both his knowledge of grand prix racing and “even-keel personality” the ideal combination for this role.
Carey believes that while his own arrival at the head of F1 after Liberty Media acquired the commercial rights from CVC Capital Partners in 2016 brought some much-needed fresh perspective, the time is right for the job to be taken by someone with a longer history in motorsport.
“I’ve had the privilege to get to know Stefano, he runs the FIA Single-Seater Commission and obviously knows many of the players in the sport, [he] pre-dates me but certainly he has got a track record that speaks for itself in the sport,” said Carey.
“I came into this as an outsider and I think there’s some value in coming into the sport as an outsider because we felt it needed significant change and fresh perspective. Going forward, now what we felt was right was we want somebody who can maintain the momentum and continue to build on what we think we’ve put in place to grow the sport.
“One of the important things Stefano brings is the deep knowledge of not just the sport and the competition on track but the players in the sport and therefore, in many ways, he can hit the ground running in terms of taking things forward.
“Stefano also brings a unique personality to this that is somebody that has great respect. Sometimes I feel like in this role you’re sitting at the eye of a storm with a lot of partners circling around and I think he brings a balance and certainly an even-keeled personality that can navigate through what at times can be very noisy situation.
“The combination of unique expertise and experience with the personality that can navigate through the various dynamics that exist really make him ideally suited to this.”
Since Domenicali accepted the job, Honda has announced its withdrawal at the end of 2021, which has led to renewed public discourse on the challenge of creating the rules for the next-generation engines scheduled for introduction in 2026.
Overseeing this process will be one of Domenicali’s priorities, with Carey including that as one of the long-term challenges on the job list for his successor.
He also stressed that the focus must be on ensuring the on-track product continues to improve given this is the foundation of F1’s success.
“It’s always to continue to improve the sport on the track – competition, action, the underdog having a chance to win and making it a healthier business for the teams because everything gets built around that,” said Carey when asked what Domenicali’s first job would be
“Beyond that, in these roles there’s always a balance of short-term and long-term. So short term, you’ve got 2021/22 with the new regulations, the new cars.
“But obviously, we’ve got long term issues like sustainability challenges, the next-generation engine and for a sport like this it’s important we continue to build on that and create a larger long-term vision for the sport that enables us to continue to grow and really fulfil our opportunities.
“Clearly, the commercial side of the business we’ve got to continue to grow. We’ve been doing a lot of things in the digital space that are critically important to the future – energising the television broadcast, trying to energise the live events and the live-event experience, grow the sport through areas like esports, podcasts and the like, grow the sport geographically so all those things.
“But the foundation it’s all built on is a great sport on the track that delivers what fans want and delivers it with a vision of not just short-term but long-term [of] where the sport on the track goes and what are the things that define it.”