Bernie Ecclestone, Bill France and the future of F1

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Bill France – the Bernie Ecclestone of NASCAR – passed away two weeks ago. France had a plan for who would run NASCAR after him – but does Ecclestone?

France, the man who transformed NASCAR from a niche south American series into one of American’s top sports died at the age of 74. He suffered a heart attack in 1997 and further health complications in subsequent years.

He handed over the chairmanship of NASCAR to son Bill France Jnr in 2003. Daughter Lesa Kennedy runs International Speedway Corporation, that owns 12 of the 18 tracks NASCAR visits.

France, like Ecclestone, was called a ‘benevolent dictator’, and had many critics. But France planned for NASCAR’s future beyond his own.

Ecclestone turns 77 this year and although he arranged CVC Partners’ purchase of a majority stake in Formula One Group, there is no indication yet who will direct F1 after him.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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2 comments on “Bernie Ecclestone, Bill France and the future of F1”

  1. Most F1 fans find running in circles, that is NASCAR ovals, beneath them but Bill France grew NASCAR into a sport greater than F1 at the same time Bernie Eccelestone did little for us but line his own pockets. As much as we like F1 racing so many of us can do little but complain about “no passing”, poor TV coverage, exorbanent ticket prices and driver and car
    inequities (Alonso/McLaren and Albers/Spyker now there’s a race I don’t want to miss.)
    NASCAR can keep 40 cars on the same lap 50 laps into a race.
    Bernie Ecclestone has no love for tradition, he’d can Silverstone for a race in Mongolia if he could make an extra Pound Sterling.
    If Bernie is looking ahead, rest assured it will be only to keep the money flowing. His legacy is already and it hasn’t included the F1 fan in any way.

  2. Nathan Jones
    18th June 2007, 7:24

    sadly F1 has never been for the people!
    i mean the very people who attend the meetings and keep the revenue coming in
    i mean the die hard race fan not the corporate wanker who only goes to get hammered, u ask them who impressed them etc and all they can answer is ‘dunno, i was too ****** to remember”

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