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Montoya supports Liberty Media's handling of F1 growth

Montoya supports Liberty Media's handling of F1 growth
© Reuters
Juan Pablo Montoya believes that Formula 1's evolution means it has "outgrown Europe."

Juan Pablo Montoya believes that Formula 1's evolution means it has "outgrown Europe."

The former grand prix winner addressed critics who disapprove of Liberty Media's management of F1 over recent years.

Numerous current drivers have also expressed discontent with Liberty's 'Americanisation' and the expansion into non-European markets at the expense of traditional races.

"I hear the criticism and of course it is a sport," Montoya told the Dutch magazine Formule 1. "But what many Europeans forget is that we have sponsors. And fans. The sport is obliged to put on the best possible show that makes everyone happy.

"Drivers tend to complain a lot, anyway, especially before something happens. 'This is bad, this is not nice, why do we have to do this? It's distracting'," the Colombian said.

"But once it happens and they notice that there is nothing wrong with it, you don't hear them anymore. Drivers just like to complain. It's apparently second nature to them."

There has also been extensive criticism of Liberty Media from traditional media and audiences.

"I have something to say about that too," said Montoya, 48.

"People in Europe need to understand that Formula 1 has become a global sport. It has outgrown Europe.

It used to be a European sport with a few other races, but times have changed," he added. "There are different demands today.

"If our contemporaries had to choose between Spa or Miami, most would choose Spa because of the history and the nostalgia. But what Miami does to the sport is much better in the bigger picture.

The racing is better, the overtaking is better, the show is better.

Don't get me wrong, Spa is a beautiful place and a fantastic circuit," Montoya continued. "But you also have to put yourself in the shoes of the fans.

"You don't see much there because it's full of trees. Spa is a beautiful race to watch at home on TV, but not to attend live.

Again, I love Spa and I'm not saying it's a race that should be taken off the calendar, but these days it's about the experience. And I think the people at Liberty Media understand that very well."

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