Bayer joins FIA as Ferrari first F1 team to take Liberty stock
The FIA, motor racing’s international governing body, has installed Peter Bayer as its new secretary general for sport.
The Austrian took up his position on Friday, a day after a meeting of the World Motor Sport Council.
He was nominated by Jean Todt, the president of the Geneva-based FIA, to succeed Frenchman Jean-Louis Valentin who has left after being elected to the presidency of the urban community of Cotentin in Normandy this January.
Valentin had been in the post since 2014.
For the last four years Bayer has served as chief executive of Open Sports Management, the commercial rights and event management consultancy founded and chaired by Keith Mills and which is the organiser and promoter of sailing’s IMOCA Ocean Masters World Championship.
Prior to that, Bayer was chief executive of the inaugural winter Youth Olympic Games held in Innsbruck in 2012.
He arrives at a significant juncture with the FIA preparing for the new Formula 1 season, and the first to be overseen by the sport’s new owner Liberty Media.
It emerged on Friday that Formula 1 mainstays Ferrari have become the first team to sell their stake in Formula 1 in return for shares in Liberty.
The famous Italian car marque’s annual report states that it sold its 0.25-per-cent holding in Formula 1 and on 22 February received approximately $11.4 million in cash, including $2.7 million of previously undistributed dividends, 145,000 Liberty shares and $911,000 in Liberty exchangeable notes.
Liberty, which acquired Formula 1’s parent company Delta Topco for $8 billion in January, has sought to attract the teams to become stakeholders, but an initial offer to the 10 outfits to buy $1.1 billion of its shares proved fruitless and it has since scaled back the initiative and given the teams until July to buy $400 million of its stock.
Liberty chief executive Greg Maffei said the shares are being offered to the teams “as part of an induced change in how we operate together” as its seeks a more collaborative process following a period in which changes to the sport, including cost-cutting efforts, have often been vetoed by the leading manufacturers.