Baku promoter hits back at Liberty criticism

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The Azerbaijan Grand Prix promoter has labelled Liberty
Media’s recent criticism of the Baku race “ignorant” adding
that the event was a “success”.

Last season Baku joined the Formula 1 fraternity, hosting a
professional and rather boring grand prix around the streets of
the capital.

This led Liberty Media’s CEO Greg Maffei to state that
Azerbaijan paid big money to host a race but did “nothing to
build the long-term brand and health of the business.”

Azerbaijan Grand Prix promoter Arif Rahimov disagrees.

“It does upset us, obviously. Mr Maffei has been involved in F1
for less than half a year,” Rahimov told Reuters.

“We’ve been working on this project for three years now so we
have more experience with F1 than them. I think saying
something like this is ignorant, but we’ll see.”

He added: “We truly believe the race was a success. It was
something that was commented on from all the various
stakeholders across the board. The fans loved the racing
action, they loved what they saw as entertainment.

“It was a success for the drivers because it was a challenging
track which was very unforgiving and which was very interesting
for the drivers as well. It was a great race, it was a great
show.

“I find it hard to understand how someone who has not attended
the race or the event can be commenting on our race in a bad
manner.”

Rahimov added that Baku would remain on the calendar unless
both parties opted to end the deal early.

“The only way by which this contract can be ended is upon
mutual agreement,” he said. “We contribute to a large chunk of
F1 revenues and I believe it would be a loss for them if they
were to make the decision to stop the race in Azerbaijan.”

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