Head of F1 Criticizes Azerbaijan's Interest in Hosting Races

Liberty Media CEO and owner of Formula 1 Greg Maffei has criticized the Azerbaijani government for using the international contest for its own benefit rather than for the future of Formula 1.

Maffei said that “Azerbaijan is not doing anything to invest in the long-term [image of the] brand and to create a healthy business", the BBC Azerbaijani Service reported. Talking about the Grand Prix, Maffei also said that Azerbaijan is using the competition to ‘fill in the calendar of the country’.

Maffei claimed that the Azerbaijani organizers of the game are much more concerned about questions such as, “How much will we make?” and “How much is the first payment?”

Baku City Circuit Press Secretary Nigar Arpadarai told the BBC Azerbaijani Service that they “were very surprised, because last year we implemented the first round of the Grand Prix with great success. And it’s not only us saying that – the international press said the same”.

The first Grand Prix took place on the streets of the capital city of Baku in June last year and Mercedes' driver Nico Rosberg won the race.

A 10-year agreement was signed between Baku and Formula 1 last year. Arif Rahimov, the head of Baku Grand Prix, says that the agreement has already begun to bear fruit, since the influx of tourists in the country has increased 20 times since the first half of last year.