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Baku F1 promoter hits back at 'ignorant' criticism from Liberty

Baku 2016

Azerbaijan Grand Prix promoter Arif Rahimov has hit back after Liberty Media boss Greg Maffei criticised the Baku Formula 1 round.

Speaking at a Deutsche Bank conference in Florida last week, Maffei - the Liberty president and CEO - cited Baku as an example of a race that did not contribute to the overall growth of the sport.

He implied the fee was of more significance to then-F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone.

"I think it's our job to do far more to help the promoters to be successful," said Maffei.

"Frankly Bernie's attitude was, 'How much can I extract from them?'

"I heard him call them the victims - 'How much can I extract, how much up front?'

"So we end up with races in places like Baku in Azerbaijan, where they paid us a big race fee, but it does nothing to build the long-term brand and health of the business.

"Our job is to find partners who pay us well, but also help us to build the product."

Rahimov responded to Maffei's comments about Baku this week.

"It does upset us obviously," Rahimov told Reuters on Wednesday. "Mr Maffei has been involved in F1 for less than half a year.

"We've been working on this project for three years now so we have more experience with F1 then them.

"I think saying something like this is ignorant, but we'll see."

In his speech, Maffei highlighted Singapore, Mexico and Abu Dhabi as examples of valuable grands prix.

"It's incumbent upon us to bring best practice," he added.

"What are the races that are considered the most exciting? What's going on well in those races?

"We need to share that better with the promoters in each of the cities where things are less successful."

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