Sean Bratches to step down as F1's commercial boss

Sean Bratches started work as Formula One's director of commercial operations in 2017. Charles Coates/Getty Images

Sean Bratches will step down as Formula One's commercial boss at the end of January after three years in the role.

Bratches was one of three senior figures employed to lead the sport into a new era when Liberty Media completed its takeover of Formula One in 2017. Alongside CEO Chase Carey and motorsport boss Ross Brawn, who will both remain in their roles, Bratches was drafted in from ESPN to take control of the commercial side of the company.

On leaving his position, Bratches will return to the United States but will continue to work with F1 in an advisory role. F1 is not planning to appoint a direct replacement.

"I want to thank Sean on behalf of everyone at Formula One for the leadership, passion and expertise he has given to the business over the past three years," Carey said. "Sean has transformed the commercial side of Formula One and a testament to his work is shown in our momentum and growth as a business.

"I am pleased Sean will continue to be an advisor for us from his home in the US, he will always be part of the Formula One family and I look forward to his ongoing advice and counsel. I wish him all the best in his new endeavours."

Bratches added: "The past three years at Formula One have been an incredible journey, one which I have enjoyed thoroughly. I want to personally thank the team at F1 for their extraordinary efforts and dedication, they are the best of the best and I am confident they will continue to serve fans and deliver on the strategy we have set in the years ahead.

"I am proud that I leave Formula One in a better position than when I joined in 2017 and I know that the foundation we have put in place as a team will continue to serve our fans around the world and reach new audiences."

F1's commercial and marketing strategy was revolutionised under Bratches, with the sport fully embracing social media for the first time and reinventing its public image with, among other initiatives, a new logo. In certain territories, F1 started broadcasting direct to fans with F1 TV, while Bratches oversaw the signing of a mix of pay-per-view and free-to-air TV deals elsewhere.

Bratches will leave F1 without achieving one of Liberty Media's main aims of securing a second race in the U.S.A., although a deal with Miami is believed to be close to fruition. April's Vietnam Grand Prix represents the first all-new race negotiated by Liberty Media and will be followed by the return of the Dutch Grand Prix in May. The two new events will see the calendar expand to 22 races this year, with a 25-race calendar a possibility under new sporting regulations as F1 attempts to maximise revenues.

The majority of Bratches' direct reports will now report to Carey, who looks set to remain in F1 for at least one more year in order to deliver on new commercial deals with teams for 2021. In 2019, there were rumours that Mercedes boss Toto Wolff could replace Carey at the top of the sport from 2021 onwards, but Ferrari has made clear that it would not accept a former team boss as the sport's CEO.