The dispute between Formula 1 and the world automobile association Fia escalates.

The statements by Fia President Mohammed Ben Sulayem (61) on an alleged multi-billion dollar takeover bid from Saudi Arabia would “interfere with our rights in an unacceptable manner,” criticized the motorsport premier class and its owner Liberty Media, according to media reports, in a letter. “To the extent that these comments damage the value of Liberty Media Corporation, Fia may be held liable.”

Ben Sulayem had described a takeover bid for Formula 1 of more than 20 billion US dollars (around 18.4 billion euros) allegedly considered by the Saudi Arabian sovereign wealth fund last year as excessive. The current Formula 1 owner Liberty Media had paid around 4.4 billion US dollars in 2017. Ben Sulayem also formulated advice for potential buyers.

Strongly worded letter

The sharply worded letter to the Fia points out that Formula 1 was guaranteed “the exclusive right to exploit the commercial rights to the Fia F1 World Championship” as part of a 100-year contract. “FIA has made an unequivocal commitment that it will not do anything to interfere with the ownership, management and/or exploitation of these rights.”

The circumstances under which Fia would play a role in a possible change in ownership structure in the Formula 1 group are “very limited,” it said.

In the past, the Fia boss has repeatedly caused trouble for the Formula 1 management. He publicly supports an expansion of the starting field to include the US project by Michael Andretti and Cadillac. But the majority of the ten current racing teams do not want to share the growing billions in revenue with newcomers. The bosses of the racing series, in turn, do not want to upset the existing teams.