Today has brought the sensational news that Bernie Ecclestone has been replaced as the CEO of Formula 1 by Chase Carey of Liberty Media. Just two days ago we reported that Bernie was rumoured to be stepping down sometime this week and it’s already happened! (link to that article below this paragraph).
Ecclestone rumoured to step down this week: http://ltmsport.com/ecclestone-to-step-down/
Sources close to the 86-year-old Brit have stated that Mr. Ecclestone has been offered the role as “Honorary President” but what that entails is anyone’s guess. It’s also uncertain whether he will retain his seat on the FIA World Motorsports council however he has stated that he doesn’t expect to keep that position.
But what is certain is that Liberty Media’s recent purchase of the rest of Formula 1 (and hence the voting rights of the sport) is no coincidence. Liberty want to leave their mark on every aspect of the sport, one which Ecclestone has been in and around the top of for nearly forty years after becoming head of FOCA in 1978.
Liberty Media outlined what they believed to be the key issues associated with Formula 1 (such as declining viewing figures and losing European Grands Prix) and almost all of them can be traced back to Ecclestone. Then again, almost everything to do with Formula 1 could be traced back to Ecclestone’s involvement as he had been associated with the sport since its inception in the 1950’s. Back then he was a driver who failed to qualify for two races in a car of his own entry. You’ve got to start somewhere.
But the burning question is; what does this mean for Formula 1?
There’s no way of knowing for sure but Liberty’s intentions are to improve the sport which cannot be a bad thing. We’ve already seen the impact that they’ve made by stepping up the social media presence of F1 (A medium in which it was severely lacking for years but still has a way to go). They want to increase competition on track, spread the wealth more equally, ensure the safety of historic races, make the sport more accessible and make the sport more appealing to viewers.
Sounds great doesn’t it?
My only worry would be that, like with any politician, it’s easy to say these things but another to actually put them in place. But removing Ecclestone is a decision that could not have been taken lightly and shows that Liberty mean business. I have faith that they’ve made the right decision here.