Carey: Ferrari gesture down to 'freedom'
17 May 2017 – Formula 1 CEO Chase Carey reckons Ferrari inviting a young fan to meet Kimi Räikkönen at the Spanish Grand Prix was down to "a sense of freedom" under the sport's new ownership.
Shortly after Räikkönen retired from Sunday's race, television cameras picked up six-year-old Thomas Danel crying, with the footage spreading across social media.
Ferrari team members then tracked Danel down, inviting him and his family into the paddock, where Räikkönen gave the youngster a signed cap and posed for a photograph.
Liberty Media completed its takeover of Formula 1 earlier this year and Carey, who replaced Bernie Ecclestone, doubts such a gesture would have been made in the past.
"We got all this press about the little boy who got pulled down, and they [Ferrari] did it on their own, having a sense a freedom that they wouldn't have had a year ago," Carey is quoted by Autosport.
"I didn't tell them to find the little boy, there are people [within the team] who did it on their own, thought it would be a special moment, and it was."
Liberty Media made several changes in the paddock at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, which kicked off the first European leg of the campaign.
An expanded fan zone featured a zip line, pit-stop challenges and a competition to win a ride in the new two-seater 'Formula 1 experience' car.
"At Barcelona we launched no transforming events, but a number of things that almost everybody to a man said created a fresh sense of energy and excitement," said Carey.
"We're finding a tremendous level of enthusiasm that hadn't existed, and to some degree you could say there was almost frustration for people who felt there wasn't anybody to engage with.
"There's no question that some things will move faster than others.
"We had more events, some great moments like [Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton] bumping coming out of the pits, and we sort of let them go."
Liberty Media's management structure comprises Carey, Ross Brawn (Managing Director, Motor Sports) and Sean Bratches (Managing Director, Commercial Operations).