The PIF's proposed $20 billion bid caused a stir

He believes it could bring major investment to the sport, but also raises questions about the potential conflict of interests.

Helmut Marko, the former professional Austrian racing driver and current advisor to the Red Bull GmbH Formula One teams, as well as head of Red Bull's driver development program, has commented on the $20 billion bid from PIF that F1 chiefs rejected. 

The Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund (PIF) has shown an interest in purchasing F1. It's the same company that bought Premier League team Newcastle United last of last year. Liberty Media in 2017 paid $4.4 billion, and PIF put forward a counteroffer of $20 billion, which was reportedly rejected by F1 shareholders.

Mohammed Ben Sulayem, the FIA president, took to social media to castigate the whole situation. “Any potential buyer is advised to apply common sense, consider the greater good of the sport and come with a clear, sustainable plan, not just a lot of money," he said. 

However, F1 bosses were not impressed with his statement. However, they did not deny the $20 billion price tag. 

Marko has however expressed his concerns, “I think it wouldn’t be so good if it went to a country that is culturally different from where most of the races take place. And generally it’s a commercial thing, and that’s more likely to happen to someone who meets normal corporate standards, if you want to put it that way.”

This year, F1 drivers have been warned of a monetary fine or race ban for any kind of political statements. The FIA put a rule which states: “The general making and display of political, religious and personal statements or comments notably in violation of the general principle of neutrality promoted by the FIA under its Statutes, unless previously approved in writing by the FIA for International Competitions, or by the relevant ASN for National Competitions within their jurisdiction.”

However, Marko thinks silencing drivers is wrong. He commented, "That is clearly wrong. They are responsible citizens who are in the global public eye and who know how and what they have to say. In general, we are in a democratic society and everyone can express their opinion.”