Bernie Ecclestone, Interlagos, 2014

Young fans are irrelevant, women criticise too much and Ferrari has lost popularity, claims Ecclestone

2014 F1 season

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Bernie Ecclestone has taken swipes at young Formula 1 fans, women and Ferrari in an astonishing and unusually detailed interview with Campaign Asia-Pacific magazine.

The Formula One boss dismissed concerns over Formula 1’s declining viewing figures, saying the fall in viewers was explained by more people watching F1 via tablets and other devices.

Ecclestone said he had faced “a lot of criticism lately because the television audience has declined” but argued “we have seen that decline in nearly all sports”.

“Have the viewers declined? I doubt it,” he said. “The viewership is just spread in different areas because today people can watch on these iPads or on even telephones.”

“And it’s only now that we’re catching up and finding out that if we lose ten per cent of our free-to-air television audience how much we might have picked up elsewhere as more people watch Formula One through other means.”

Despite Formula 1 Management having recently embraced Twitter, Ecclestone said he was “not interested in tweeting” and refuted the suggestion that F1 should engage more with new media to develop its following among younger viewers.

“If you have a brand that you want to put in front of a few hundred million people, I can do that easily for you on television,” he continued. “Now, you’re telling me I need to find a channel to get this 15-year-old to watch Formula One because somebody wants to put out a new brand in front of them? They are not going to be interested in the slightest bit.”

“Young kids will see the Rolex brand, but are they going to go and buy one? They can’t afford it. Or our other sponsor, UBS – these kids don’t care about banking. They haven’t got enough money to put in the bloody banks anyway. That’s what I think.”

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Yet in an apparent self-contradiction, Ecclestone admitted there was value to attracting fans at a young age: “I say to some of these people who start this nonsense about social media, look at what tobacco companies tried to do – get people smoking their brand early on because then people continue smoking their brand forever.”

In further remarks no doubt intended to provoke, Ecclestone added “women in particular like to criticise” changes in the sport and claimed Formula 1’s most successful team were no longer the draw they once were.

“Ferrari used to have such fantastic fan support,” he said, “and now they’re not winning as much, and you can see that their popularity has dropped off.”

“In the old days you’d see people walking around with Ferrari flags and the whole place would be full of red. I don’t see that any more. It’s quite strange because you don’t see people walking around with any flags or waving them like you used to. The world changes.”

Ecclestone reiterated his view that Formula 1 would not miss the four cars lost due to Marussia and Caterham’s financial problems, which he blamed on the teams themselves overspending.

“Just don’t spend as much,” said Ecclestone. “These teams don’t need to be in financial trouble. They need to think about what they have got to spend and do the best they can with that.”

“Take Williams, for example. Years ago Frank [Williams] had a very small budget and was generally in trouble. Yet he always paid every dollar that he owed. He ran his team accordingly with the amount of money he could come up with. He didn’t have dreams about competing with Ferrari. Eventually things got better and he built the business and now he’s where he is today.

“It’s the same for everything in life, isn’t it, really? It’s the same problem with ladies and credit cards.”

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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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195 comments on “Young fans are irrelevant, women criticise too much and Ferrari has lost popularity, claims Ecclestone”

  1. Bernie really has lost it. Time for him to go.

    1. The only thing I disagree with is the ‘Bernie’. Time to drop the familiar and endearing term of address, he deserves neither. His attitude on just about any topic is repugnant. ‘Ecclestone’ as the one and only official polite name for this man.

      1. You are so right. Looking at the posts below, most of them refer to Ecclestone as ‘Bernie’, as if the posters know him and they’re pals with him. He most definitely does not deserve it, undermining my efforts to get my kids (and my wife) interested in F1.

      2. SaturnVF1 (@doublestuffpenguin)
        15th November 2014, 5:30

        I call him that because it reminds me of the titular character from “Weekend at Bernie’s”. He’s essentially dead, irrelevant, only propped up by those around him to further their own ends. I just hope there’s not an even worse sequel.

    2. That is the definition of Arrogant. He think he is the chosen one or something.
      This attitude will bring him down fast.

    3. Taking into account that he should be in jail, nothing he could say surprise me.

    4. Agreed, he is just making a fool of him self. And they need to loosen up so F1 can be shared on Social medias without the “Ban hammer”

  2. “women in particular like to criticise” !! ahaha, ok then Bernie, what planet is he on anyway? Shut up and retire already ;)

    1. My thoughts exactly. Everything he said here is totally false.

      Thanks Bernie for revealing the truth of how your mind really works. And that truth is, it doesn’t work.

    2. There’s been much to criticise lately: teams folding, paydrivers multiplying, further division of teams on cost grounds, ineffectual leadership, factionalism. Need I go on? I see no one wanting to do much about it either, other than drive in more wedges.

      Signed, A Woman (watching the slow destruction of the sport I love)

    3. My whole answer to his comments is: “lolz, okey Bernie”.

      Every other month he goes out and says “X is irrelevant to F1”. So I don’t really care. I don’t care about his comments but I care about the image that shows to the world.

    4. Bernie should die. I know it’s negative and all but I think it’s time he goes. Because he won’t go from F1 unless he goes from this world.

      1. “Death is looking for him at his home but he’s off wandering the streets” is an expresion where I’m from, so that kind of applies here..

      2. I honestly think that at this point, if it were to happen to Bernie, it would not be negative

    5. What F1 does not need is you, Bernie Ecclestone. You are the worst enemy of the sport. Your mindless ambition and blindness are killing it. Go away!

    6. At 84 Bernie shouldn’t be all too surprised when his women are critizing him :-)

    7. Fan viewership is down because the engine change makes the cars too much like Indy Cars..big mistake. I know this is about TV viewership but I think race attendance will drop due to the new engines..I am a woman & love the roar of an F-1 Car!!!

    8. Retire is an excellent idea. He has run out of useful ideas. He mentioned that he doesn’t need the kids,
      well, I am 71 years old, and I followed F1 when I was in jr. high. I haven’t missed a televised race in over 10 years. No, I do not go to the tracks to see a race because the hotel rates are too high, but I do watch on TV, and support the sponsors.

    9. I would like to go on record, I am neither young nor female.

      Good luck to sponsors getting noticed by people watching on their phone.

      1. Watching on a TELEphone according to Mr Burns!

    10. Pretty sure that quip was a shot at Kaltenborn.

  3. I’m going to leave this here:

    20% of the group aged between 35 and 44 uses twitter. Most will look it as a compliment that despite the age of 40 they are still called youngster. “Oh Bernie, you silly dog! trying to get into my pants right?” “getting into your wallet will suffice”

    1. @keithcollantine should run poll asking F1F users: “Do you own a Rolex?”

      I don’t watch for the bling! For me it’s about racing and technology.

      This senior is 84 years old! All the time saying “I think”, “I don’t”, “Me”… never says “We”… CVC must sack this old fella. Let’s do it while he still has a few more years to see for himself F1 flourishing under management of a younger guy.

  4. There are few words…

    This particular motorsport series is simply of no interest to me any more, and it’s the insane ramblings of this senile old man that are causing it. Well partly causing it. It doesn’t help that Formula One is not the pinnacle of racing technology, doesn’t have the best range of drivers, doesn’t have the most dedicated and engaging teams, operates restrictive television viewing options, has the worst access to the circuit when you actually pay to visit a race live, is the worst value for money.

    Oh yes, and the on-track action? I can watch any other form of motorsport and be more impressed, excited, and on the edge of my seat.

    Man, screw this series. I’ll take what little money and a lot of fandom I have and go play in the other “youngsters” elsewhere.

    1. Can you explain why you think F1 doesn’t have the best range of drivers? Is it because of the pay-drivers?Because I think that is offset by the various privateers and rich gentlemen drivers in most other series, series which cannot boast the quality of our current crop of champions and future-champions.Because every racing driver’s dream is to win the F1 championship or even be part of it i struggle to believe the very best aren’t already here seeing as most drivers related in the slightest with even an F1 test would instantly jump on the opportunity.

    2. You REALLY contradict on what you do. I am so tired of you people saying they are leaving. So stop posting and leave already! Why do we all have to read every the post that you are leaving. Do you want a hug and sympathy?
      Get out of here then. Go watch you “other” racing series. What do we care?

      1. “I am so tired of you people” Hey excuse us for having an opinion.Carry on with your bernie love fest.I wish he were gone.

    3. “This particular motorsport series is simply of no interest to me any more…”

      Well then why are you commenting on, and hence presumably reading, a website called F1Fanatic?

      Don’t get me wrong, I’m no Bernie fan. I admire his success, if not the way he has gone about it. Regardless of that though, I think he is now holding F1 back. Ironically, I think it is him that is now irrelevant. Or rather, his attitudes. Unfortunately, his presence is still very relevant, as he still holds so much power. It seems nothing happens in F1 unless he approves. Nobody dares go up against him.

      The grass is not always greener though. As the saying goes, be careful what you [we] wish for. In years time, will we be criticising an F1 run by committee?

  5. The headline of this article should really be ‘Ecclestone says exactly what you think he’s thinking.’

  6. In days gone by, I’d judge this as a masterstroke of misdirectional humour from a circus ringleader.

    Sadly I think this is actually representative of his true views, spoken from the inside of the clown car, where he’s haplessly stuck.

    1. “ask a 15 year old what they want, and they don’t know” be says, justifying his focus on old rich men.

      A less out of touch businessman might see “I don’t know” as a marketing opportunity….

  7. Interesting how this story is all over Twitter. I’m looking forward to the reaction of CVC. Not optimistic they’ll do anything though. Sigh.

    1. meanwhile the Enstone guys did chip in … as well as McLaren with a more serious reaction earlier (picture of a young fan in a race overall) @scalextric

    2. My God…Bernie has finally gone totally round the bend. You’re right…the interesting question now is whether CVC has ANY attachments at all and will deal with the issue.

  8. Bernie thinks young people don’t eventually get older or richer.
    Also ” as more people watch Formula One through other means”.I know you and the FOM very much encourage it Bernie!

    1. Perhaps he’s never heard of pocket money and Amazon Wish Lists.

    2. It was so long ago that he genuinely can’t remember that he himself was young once.

      Also, nobody in charge of a high-tech sport should ever feel the need to put ‘these’ in front of ‘ipads’.

  9. Bernie says “Just don’t spend as much,”. Then why did he take out the prize money for the eleventh team that participated? Either he wanted them to cannibalize themselves or he is eating his own hat because his ideas failed. If a team with such history like Williams had such a difficult financial situation, it says a lot about the revenue being distributed to the teams rather than them burning their budgets.

    And what the hell?! Why did Bernie enter the sport when he was young? Couldn’t he have simply waited till he became a rich pensioner and then entered the sport?

    Next what? Only rich pensioners to be pilots in F1?

  10. I really don’t want to take apart the whole interview line by line. But almost everyone who does know their marketing cannot but see the obvious nonsense and contradictions in what Bernie says during that interview.
    A few points I will raise though:
    How is anyone going to see F1 on TV unless they are somehow already interested enough to pay up for a Pay TV deal? They are not.
    And when young people don’t have money, then how are they spending it on mobile apps, games and through their telephones? One of the things all sane banks I know are working on is getting young kids to have an account and offer incentives to use it and ways to use it, because especially in banking it pays off to “invest” in people who are then quite likely to stay loyal.

    But really, its largely sad that CVC allows this guy to run the thing, probably it means that they just have no idea what to do with the sport without him and fear it would bring chaos.

    1. ‘I really don’t want to take apart the whole interview line by line.’

      Gotta say I’m very impressed that @keithcollantine didnt do that. Must have been tempting though.

      It amazes me that Bernie can say that young fans are irrelevant! So when the older generation dies… F1 will just stop? Thats a great business plan for CVC to approve!

      1. @brawngp I wonder if he thinks people start watching F1 only when they retire… it’s like he doesn’t even belongs to F1 world.

        F1 drivers are entering the series before their 20s and Bernie thinks young people don’t matter.

    2. @BasCB
      “How is anyone going to see F1 on TV unless they are somehow already interested enough to pay up for a Pay TV deal? They are not.”

      I reckon that Bernie still considers that the races are all still free to air, as the cost of a Sky Subscription is so insignificant to him as to be equivalent to free.

      1. Never thought of it that way before, but I imagine that’s likely the case

    3. One wonders if he has heard of Google, Facebook and Twitter, @bascb, the commercial monstrosities that prove the worth of mere “youngsters” being exposed to advertising.

      It is not uncommon for F1’s most brilliant to have their eccentricities, Senna is a prominent example, but there is always a safety-net once it is realised that these actions are merely a distablizing social facade. And yet with Bernie, we see a man starting to stretch the limits of the term “quirky” and instead a headlong plunge into an archaic world of sexism, homophobia, dictatorial self-interest and, as in the case of refuting the value of younger fans, plain delusion.

      For me the assurance in Bernie’s abilities and the promise that he “has it all worked out” is gone, and instead I am seeing a frightened eldery man trying to hold back a tidal wave of change all the while still at the head of a global sport (that he can no longer control). Why did the mental image of orang-utan astride a runaway train just pop into my head?

      1. a gray, mop haired orang-utan @countrygent.

    4. @bascb There is a big difference between a $1 that could be put on a parents credit card and a $15,000 Rolex. Bernie doesn’t do himself any favors, but he is right in that respect. His job relates to the commercial side of F1, and at the moment most sponsors don’t have kid friendly products.

      Unfortunately it’s a self fulfilling prophecy, as if you don’t think kids would be interested. Then you don’t put measures in place to gain their intrigue which leads you back to kids not following F1.

      It’s easy to blame Bernie, and rightfully so, but the failure falls to more than him. The CVC, FIA, and the Teams all share responsibility and need to come together fix the numerous fallacies with F1.

      1. Hm, well not really true though @rybo. Because Rolex will want to sell watches in 20 years as well. And kids have parents and relatives as well. A friend of my sister in law bought her 12 yo. nephew a rolex for X-mass last year for example (yeah, I wouldn’t either, but there you go).

        As for who is to blame. Well, first of all the FIA should do the rule making and keep control, so yeah, they are not currently doing their job (maybe waiting it out for a chance to cancel the 100y deal?). And CVC has never done anything a commercial rights holder should do, namely to boost the long term value of the series. So yes, they are to blame for the commercial mess we are currently in. But Bernie is their CEO and is not doing that job properly.

    5. @bascb

      I don’t think Bernie even reads or listens to what Bernie says. He’s too busy spewing out the next ill thought out untimely misinformed pontification from the deranged world according to Bernie. He seems to be quite proud of being the mad jester curmudgeon that people are only forced to listen to because of his position atop the Formula 1 circus.

    6. It is well known in the business world that young people as a group have the highest discretionary income you can find. They don’t have car payments or house payments etc, etc, etc. When a teenager makes some money, they’re going so spend it on video games or fast food, etc. If Bernie isn’t trying to go after that money, then not only is he daft, but CVC is even worse for not dealing with him as an issue.

    7. @bascb, As long as CVC get to take as much money out of F1 as the teams they are probably quite happy for Bernie to set himself up as the villain.

      1. @hohum – That’s it in a nutshell. CVC was probably only uncomfortable with Bernie during the time he was involved in his various legal entanglements. Since then they are probably just as glad to have him back to spouting off like a madly insane teapot while the cash just keeps piling up. Since Bernie’s legal trouble has passed, he has been busily making up for the period of lost time where even he realized he had to be quiet as a church mouse.

  11. He really does need to move on! He has lost touch with who his audience is. Well written by the way Keith, much better than an certain a***sport page that just picked at the cheese and didn’t offer a link to the original article.

  12. One word RETIRE had enough of his comments he’s ruining the sport and saying that the views have gone down in all sports is utter rubbish for one example BTCC has gone up and the reason close racing not stupidly priced and race control doesn’t intervene on the silliest little things!!! Part of the problem is he thinks he cab buy his way out of everything!

    1. The teams should be taking a real note of this. Ecclestone is dragging the entire sport down with him. Basically he goes or millions of fans (continue) to go. It’s that simple.

  13. He needs to go, if double points ruins the title decider I’m putting serious thought into putting my time into the WEC instead.

    1. YEah , i feel the same.. Max will drive next year, and being Dutch i will see some races for sure.

      But i have already decided that i wnt follow next season like this one.. keeping track of the news, watching the FP’s when i can… just to turn it on n a rainy sunday, to see the idiocracy.

      A proper coverage of WEC would certainly be strong incentive for me to ‘step-over’

  14. He literally has no clue.

    On the other hand, i would probably be bitter too if my daughters wasted several billion $ on luxuries and parties.

  15. “The viewership is just spread in different areas because today people can watch on these iPads or on even telephones.”
    Well there’s your answer, Bernie. Get F1 onto mobile devices and social media. Don’t just ignore it because you can’t understand it.
    “Young kids will see the Rolex brand, but are they going to go and buy one? They can’t afford it. Or our other sponsor, UBS – these kids don’t care about banking. They haven’t got enough money to put in the bloody banks anyway. That’s what I think.”
    Oh Bernie, you’re so Twentieth Century! The fifteen to thirty five year generation is awash with money. Look at the major brands from Starbucks to Red Bull to Apple; awash with cash from that generation. Make the racing relevant (and available) to that market and the sponsors will come back. Rolex and Longines were never that relevant to the average F1 fan -ever!
    That interview seems like the sad and defeated grumbling of a rather bitter old man who realises that ‘ladies and credit cards’ (probably his ex-wife and daughters) have taken him for a ride.

    1. You’d think it would motivate him to get out there and bring in more relevant sponsors: from the gaming industry, for example.

      1. yeah Gaming wold be good sponsors, with the latest rumours that alcohol will also be baned on the cars.. bye bye Force-india, Bye bye Williams..

        1. Bernie does have a point about Williams though.. FW was a back-marker for ten years, always running pay drivers, after losing Piers Courage (who got FW some early customer car podiums), before selling his team to Wolf (who did well for a bit with investment on one car), and only then setting up again and being successful in the Ground Effect era.

          But yes, gaming is an area that should start to be targeted @sharoncom

          1. That was then, this is now. BITD anyone could buy a Cosworth engine and a Hewland gearbox; chassis were pretty easy to build and customer cars were readily available. Williams did a great job climbing the ladder, but now it costs $100 million to field a reasonable two car team. Not a good comparison at all. And don’t forget that HRT, Caterham, and Marussia all got suckered in with the idea there was going to be a $40 million cost cap.

            So really, Bernie DOESN’T have a point.

  16. I have been a follower of F1 close to 35 years, so yes I am part of that group that Ecclestone sees as the target group. But any company knows that it has to find new ways of finding customers otherwise it will die. Many 80 year olds have problem with the new media forums that are available. Even my sons know more about it than that I do and I am in my mid 40s.
    Although Ecclestone has done much in the past to lift the sport he sees it as his own toy that can die with him. Although the problems have been going on for some year now, the last few weeks things have started escalating. This man is clearly has become a problem for the sport to move forward.

    If you can’t see the problem, you are part of the problem.

    1. A really big mistake was made when NBC replaced Speed in the U.S. The deal should have been made to put F1 on NBC instead of NBCSN. F1 doesn’t have a large market here and probably won’t for years to come. NASCAR and INDY car didn’t when they started televising their races, but look at the number of viewers now, and look at the numbers that now go to the tracks. F1 is hurting for new thinking.

  17. “Fall in viewers was explained by more people watching F1 via tablets and other devices.”
    I’m not sure everyone has access to such a service, including myself. If only F1 had some kind of paid official live streaming service similar to that of MotoGP.

  18. This seems astonishing and nonsensical until you realise who FOM’s customers are. We usually think of ourselves as the ‘customer’ in this transaction, but we’re not. The customers who buy the product that FOM produces are the race circuits and the TV companies. They are the ones who buy F1 from FOM, and then re-sell the product on to us. From that perspective you need to see why it is that Ecclestone doesn’t really care about race attendence or TV viewership (or team sponsorship or anything else really) since those are all problems for resellers. It’s also why he has no interest in social media – there are no comparable rights structures for things like Twitter and YouTube; there’s nobody to sell to – nobody out there willing to pay for the right to produce the content to put up on these channels. It would otherwise be considered a marketing exercise; again you need to realise that the product that FOM sells to the TV companies and the tracks, is not advertised at all by FOM as they simply don’t need to. Their consumer base readily expands year on year without them having to bother doing anything with it.

    There may come a time when this approach makes F1 unattractive to the TV companies and tracks, but it seems like there is a ready stream of people prepared to pay top dollar for the product that they sell. Ecclestone isn’t going to change his business model until his customers express a desire not to pay any more, and there are no new ones lined up to take their place.

    1. Great point, what he doesn’t do though is increase the market value of the product. He does a great job for CVC squeezing money out of the company but when they want to float or sell it on they’re going to lose out as there’s so much more potential than what they have right now with their minimal market saturation.

      Look no further than the NFL for a better example of wealth creation and distribution for everyone involved. It’s a far different business model but whilst working across a much smaller market the owners able to take out far more money than CVC whilst still paying the talent more than what the F1 teams get paid collectively and everyone still makes a profit.

      1. I think there’s a need for caution when comparing any global model to the model for North American sports. It’s easy to look at their market saturation and promotion, and think that because it’s successful in the US, it would be an effective model for global penetration. There are some issues with that – sports in the US are tailored for an exclusively American audience, with regular events geared towards getting bums on seats in massive stadiums. They also tap into a certain patriotic mindset whereby Americans (generally speaking) feel a specific sense of pride and enjoyment when they watch American sports. Sports which are, to a certain extent, ingrained on the American psyche and go hand in hand with that fairly uniquely insular view of the world. i.e. “I’m American, Amercan sports are best, USA USA!” etc. You simply can’t apply that to a sport targetted at a global market because it has to have broad, cross-cultural appeal. That is to say, it has to conform to a certain set of fairly narrow values which are universally popular in all of their target markets.

        But yes, I take the point you’re making, and I agree. The business model for F1 is completely broken thanks to CVC. Their only concern, it seems, is to extract the absolute maximum level of profit from the sport in the immediate term, presumably with a view to getting rid of it as soon as the cash cow starts to dry up. In that respect, Ecclestone’s views as he expresses them, are entirely consistent with that. He’s a man who has been appointed by CVC with a remit specifically to facilitate that goal, and in that respect he’s doing a very good job. He is maximising the revenue streams coming in, while minimising the expenditure. In fact, the expenditure is virtually nil since all of the costs are absorbed by the teams, the tracks, and the TV companies. There’s a certain amount put back into the sport, to the teams, by way of a percentage of the TV money, prize money, and freight costs, but even that is absorbed into the money charged to the venues anyway.

        Everything Ecclestone has done since CVC took control has been consistent with that goal. When the teams united and threatened a breakaway, he used the revenue given to the teams as a means of breaking up that alliance by giving certain teams (massively) preferential payouts, and effectively destroying the concept of Concorde by making individual deals which allowed the most troublesome teams to become the richest and most powerful, while also potentially killing off half the teams on the grid. That’s good for him too since it’s fewer teams who need paying, and the slack can be taken up either by third cars or (as he prefers) customer teams who wouldn’t get any ‘Bernie money’. Of course, they don’t care at all about the hundreds of people who would be made redundant. They only care about lining their own pockets. So they look after their very narrow self-interests, with an exit strategy likely sitting on the back burner for the point in the future when it all starts to fall apart. But at the moment all of the indicators are that their business model is strong and successful and will continue for many years yet. All of the teams which inevitably fall by the wayside along the way are merely collateral damage.

        1. @mazdachris I don’t know if you like basketball, but the NBA is probably the only domestic (despite a team from Toronto) that is more important than all other basketball leagues combined (money and aundience wise). That’s a very good “Made In America” product, we should not forget that Americans created the “superstar athlete” being Miachel Jordan the best example, imagine David Beckham x 1000, that’s Jordan, who’s actually a global brand that can rival any team in F1 these days, at least among the younger folks…

          1. @jcost I don’t really like Basketball, but I think I get the point you’re making. And I do agree, there are things that American sports do so right that really should be applied to F1, or at least I would if I was in charge. But I do think we should avoid the simplistic view that, say, NASCAR is massively successful so if F1 simply copies the business model for NASCAR then it will achieve the same success. Because NASCAR and F1 operate in fundamentally different markets which need to be treated differently in order to be successful. I suppose the benefit in how F1 operates is that local promotion is left to the local venue and the TV companies (with, it seems, varying degrees of autonomy depending on the market) so they can tailor the promotion to fit the individual market, while FOM has the wider remit of keeping the ‘top level’ sponsors happy. Which would work great if Ecclestone didn’t do his best to undermine F1 at every opportunity. But I guess he feels like there is some benefit in the statements he makes. I’m just saying that from his perspective, the opinions he has are perfectly logical and in line with the job he’s employed to do. I just wish he’d keep his mouth shut and be happy to operate within that remit behind closed doors without his remarks damaging the image of the sport.

          2. @jcost I don’t like NASCAR :) and ovals did not work for F1 either. I do agree F1 cannot solve it’s problems through plain “Americanization” but there interesting elements in American pro sports that could help F1 raise its game in terms of popularity without selling it’s soul (with too much gimmicks).

            It’s becoming very obvious that Ecclestone is a liability rather than someone adding value to the sport. He has done a great job in the past but we cannot keep the same route anymore, it’s time to go.

        2. @mazdachris, excellent analysis, 1 point though, this is not a model that started when CVC bought a controlling interest, this is the model Bernie started with, and it is the model he sold for $billions to C. Medien when the teams 1st started agitating for a bigger slice of the pie.

    2. They are the ones who buy F1 from FOM, and then re-sell the product on to us.

      Actually, for TV, they buy F1 to attract us, so they can sell us to the advertisers.

      Never delude yourself that we are a TV companies customers. We are their product. Just like with Google or Facebook.

      1. Yes absolutely. I meant simply that the people we buy F1 from are the TV companies. There’s a degree of separation between us as customers, and FOM as the producers of the product. But of course, the reason that the likes of Sky are prepared to spend the big bucks on the TV rights, is that they can then use the viewer figures to sell advertising space. In that respect, again, the business model makes sense. Yes, the viewing figures fall when you put the show behind a paywall. But those people who are prepared to pay for access are also more lilkely to generate good hits for the advertisers, so the value to them is actually increased even if the viewership decreases. It gives them a much more targetted audience to whom they can market their products and services. Again, it links back to what Ecclestone was saying – the young demographic is one which has no intrinsic value to the advertisers and sponsors currently revolving around F1. Obviously if a major player like Apple were to want to get involved, then the landscape may change a little because of the core demographic. But I don’t think that’s going to happen any time soon, and the current high-value partners of FOM obviously feel they’re getting plenty of value out of the venture and are prepared to continue paying the big bucks.

        There’s no need to change anything because everything is selling well and people are getting richer. Hence why Ecclestone sees no crisis. Small teams dropping out means nothing to him – he is simply concerned with keeping his sponsors and CVC making money, and in that respect teams that fail are of no consequence whatsoever.

    3. Sure, ultimately the people who buy FOM’s races are the race organizers, the broadcasters, and the advertisers, none of which are 15-year-old kids. But when any of those decide where to spend their money, will this interview sway any of them towards F1? It won’t convince municipalities that hosting a F1 race is a good way to promote their city or country, unless they’re the sort of place that only wants 70-year-old millionaires. But maybe that’s not a major concern, there’s always another oil-rich microstate to take up the place of formerly popular races, when those can’t afford the race fees anymore.
      Broadcasters need eyeballs (for ratings) and advertisers, to recoup their fees: their audience and advertisers are of course exactly the ones Ecclestone’s dismissing here. As F1 loses the young and impressionable audience, it loses broadcasting fees too. Those can be ridiculously lucrative, there’s no excuse not to keep up the audience to drive those up.
      Lastly, F1’s advertisers, luxury brands like Rolex. Rich people come in a variety of ages and backgrounds, but only the 90-year-old men want products associated too closely with 70-year-old men. Like any other consumer product, luxury brands still want to sell youth, popularity, and excitement (ok, maybe not the swiss banks, but…) and this isn’t the image F1 is cultivating anymore. Ecclestone is chasing an extremely small niche here. What marketing department would honestly look at this sport as it looks now and say, this is where we should put our money?

  19. Mr. Montgomery Burns?
    In Bernie’s eyes F1 is just a marketing tool for big brands and it could be racing, ice skating, hill climbing, you name it. The only thing that matters – big companies and the money the bring in.

      1. @keithcollantine that’s some funny stuff:D

      2. Kimberley Barrass
        14th November 2014, 14:51

        Why did I not know of that site!!! I have just nearly wet myself at the Piquet points system!!!

        Duly favourited!!

  20. I have emailed these comments to Rolex and UBS for feedback. I know I won’t get a response but I really want to know what Rolex and UBS feel about being a brand for old people that young people don’t care about. I’m sure that fits with their brand image.

    Frankly, Rolex is a bit of an older-person brand but I imagine they have put huge amounts of efford into shifting that tag to appeal to the younger market. 100% of the Rolex advertising I am aware of is through F1 and the face of F1, Bernie, is now confirming that F1’s portfolio of sponsors as well as the sport itself, is for old people.

    How does this fit with Red Bull’s involvement in F1? Does their brand appeal to the older generation?

    1. @petebaldwin That was my first thought exactly – Red Bull is clearly a brand aimed at youngsters but it’s possible Bernie doesn’t care about the teams’ sponsors, just the ones sponsoring FOM.

    2. +1 and not to talk about the 5 car brands (including Infiniti) that are in F1

      1. @dutch-in-sweden – Haven’t you heard about the new Mercedes AMG Lavender Series. Top speed of 20kph and comes as standard with floral carpets and a nice carriage clock on the dashboard! :D

    3. Rolex are also very big sponsors of yachting ie. Sailboat regattas.

  21. Well CVC have just had to postpone their IPO launch again, because of the small teams saga that is entirely Bernie’s creation. Eventually CVC are going to have to bite the succession bullet. If they have any sense at all they’ll finally put someone honest in charge.

    1. I have a feeling this is Bernies last year or at least it should be. He spouts nonsense that is against everything that i was thought about marketing mostly continuously alienating existing fan base and refusing to grow it. CVC should hire someone that has a formal education about marketing, brands, customer relationships, sports etc…

      BTW could we have a list of stupid things Bernie has said. Maybe we could vote what is the most revolting remark.

    2. Yep, the IPO was supposed to be launched in Singapore and didn’t happen again.

  22. FlyingLobster27
    14th November 2014, 10:55

    Bernie’s fandom can’t be far off Meg Griffin levels now.
    Shut up, Bernie.

  23. In Pages if some one troll then they get banned. but this guy is trolling entire F1 day in day out since past few years when this guy can be banned from F1.

  24. Ron Netherlands
    14th November 2014, 11:02

    Bernie go buy yourself a big boat, sail away and lett someone else do the F1 from now on.
    We will survive you and have time enough so take your ass out off F1

    1. He already has one.

  25. Welcome everyone to another round of “master manipulator or senile old crank?” with everybody’s favourite corrupt-but-unconvicted billionaire Bernie Ecclestone!

  26. Could anyone send the little crook into deep space?

  27. Dmitry (@robo)
    Mr. Montgomery Burns?
    GOLD- great comment!!

    I saw my first F1 live at 9, now close to 40 and can afford a Rolex (if I ever bought a watch) and banking is a large part of my business! What a great insight by BE once again!!

    What he is saying is that 15 year olds will make F1 money in years to come, but not in his time, so its not important to him! (How much does one man need hey!!) We saw him in the Paddock Club in Malaysia and went over for a look and the official photographer saw our interest and said “Ask him for a photo, he likes to”. We actually said no thanks that’s ok, and moved on. (I may have said too much and get kicked out!)

    There is a big amount (or a lot) in F1 than needs to change (stopping daily comments by those who make great living from F1 then sledging it would be a good start) but a fresh start at the top would be excellent !! He has done a great amount for the sport, but like all sporting coaches sometimes you need to say, thanks for your efforts coach, time to move one!!!

  28. The Blade Runner (@)
    14th November 2014, 11:32

    At some point Bernie is going to rip his mask off and reveal that it has been a Sacha Baron Cohen wind-up all along!

  29. If you want Formula One to be exclusive to middle-aged wealthy men then so be it Ecclestone. Formula One is simply inferior now to other categories in almost every single respect, at least one per category. So you and your wealthy friends can either fix it or lose an entire generation of possible fans to other categories. I’m more excited for IndyCar and motorcycle racing as it stands than for Formula One.

  30. “Now, you’re telling me I need to find a channel to get this 15-year-old to watch Formula One because somebody wants to put out a new brand in front of them? They are not going to be interested in the slightest bit. Young kids will see the Rolex brand, but are they going to go and buy one? They can’t afford it. Or our other sponsor, UBS – these kids don’t care about banking. They haven’t got enough money to put in the bloody banks anyway. That’s what I think.”

    Of all the terrible things he’s said, this quote really got to me. I am very angry at this.

    From a business point of view, it makes a little bit of sense in the short term, however if you don’t start building a fan base from a very young age, there simply won’t be much of a fan base. I’m pretty sure the majority of F1 fanatics on this site started watching and got hooked on F1 younger than 18.

    But this is something that shouldn’t be looked at from a business point of view. Formula 1 is one of the most exciting sports on the planet, on that can grab a child’s or teenager’s imagination. Personally, I fell in love with race car drivers driving the most advanced machines in the world to the absolute limit. Ecclestone’s claim that there is no need to let younger fans enjoy and potentially fall in love with Formula 1, it just breaks my heart to be honest.

    I’m really lost for words, I am appalled that this man is basically in charge of Formula 1.

    1. Bernie doesn’t care about the sport, it’s legacy, the fans, the teams, the sponsors, history or ethics. It’s simply about making money for himself. These comments absolutely prove this to be the case.

    2. You are still wrong: from a business point of view, it doesn’t make sense either. 70 year old ones are, not that I want them to, going die eventually, sooner then later. If that short sighted money-monger doesn’t get it that F1 will have no audience at all within a couple of decades, then his mentally capacity has broken down completely.

      From a business point of view, it’s a disaster.

      1. @turbof1 – you’re missing the point though.

        Bernie himself is 84. He only cares about how much money he can make in the next few years before he’s finally gone. He won’t plan for the future because it won’t make him any money.

        1. I’m not missing the point, I fully get the self-enriching. But again, that’s short-sightness. He can’t take it with him, and his family-fortune is so huge his unborn grandchildren will never have to worry about a single bit.

          He long sorted his own legacy; there’s little the extra money he gets between now and ,sorry to say this, his very wanted and long overdue death will ever achieve something.

          On top of that, he still is an employee of CVC and FOM, and should primarily concerned with the well-being of those, which included the long term.

          1. The Ecclestones will not be in F1 once Bernie dies so it’s future doesn’t matter to Bernie or the family. They couldn’t care less about F1.

            CVC and FOM have made their priorities known by keeping Bernie in change when they have an absolute water-tight reason to get rid of him previously.

            If CVC and FOM cared about the long term future of F1, the fans and the teams, Bernie would have been sacked by now.

      2. Bernie doesn’t care what’s going to happen to F1 in a couple of decades.
        He wants to squeeze every bit of money out of F1, because he knows his product is going to die soon.
        I don’t understand why CVC isn’t going to stop this retarded bastard from ruining F1. When Ecclestone is gone, it’ll be their problem. Then it’ll be to late to change something and they will lose billions of €/£/$.

        1. Actually, they won’t lose much of anything if F1 goes bust. CVC has been taking loans against future income to the tune of several billions of dollars; a lot of their profit goes toward loan payments. If F1 dies, CVC declares bankruptcy and closes the business owing several billion dollars. But they’ve already extracted the money and run; it wouldn’t hurt them in the least to close shop. These are not stupid people; they may be evil, but they’re not stupid.

    3. The only parts of the car, they drive to the limit today, are the tyres. Which means lifting and coasting and generally drive like a grand mother. Which will totally destroy the tyres.

  31. This is sad. What’s happened to the sport that I loved watching? Now it’s being dominated by an old man making ridiculous and outlandish statements for its own sake.

  32. Formula 1 needs someone that re-ignites the fire that used to be what made Formula 1 great.
    This man must know that the end is near (for him and F1). And he rather sees it in ruins than have someone take over.
    Most likely of fear that that person does a better job than he ever did.

  33. Dunno about anyone else, but I felt quite uncomfortable reading his comments. They are so disjointed, incoherent and rambling that some one who cares about him as a human being needs to stop him humiliating him self any more. I find it really sad, and reprehensible that no one cares enough about either him or the sport to make the call.

    Reminds me of the story about Ronald Reagan walking over to a small model of the White House and saying something along the lines of, “This used to be really important to me, but I cant remember what”. At least by then he was retired.

  34. I really feel violated by Bernie’s comments being a 16 year old in Australia, staying up between 10pm and 4am Monday on most occasions to watch Formula 1, he can pretty much get stuffed if he thinks that way.
    Money spending wise i’m getting my own PS4 soon, and I already have a Galaxy Tab, iPod, and plans for a cricket trip to Greece next year, the latter 2 I Got since I started work in July.

    1. (Continued) He cannot run the pinnacle of motorsport if he can’t see the blindingly obvious in teens! I’m only 1 of a few teens in my area that follow Formula 1, my whole street would be into it if he learned the mere basics of Social Media.

      1. Exactly my feelings reading the article. Young people are irrelevant ? That man is certified crazy.

  35. Bernie took over F1 via a series of small advances in power until he got enough control to put himself in an unassailable position. Victory after after victory followed and he attained supreme authority in his world. The weak had only themselves to blame for their demise and he gave but a passing glance at their empty pits, these included many of his previous collegues. The chosen few truly benefited from his patronage, they were handsomely rewarded for maintaining his power base and not challenging his authority.

    Now his empire is under serious threat, arrogance has led to prosecutions and financial losses in court battles over dubious actions, once close allies are keeping their distance. Yet he still puts out surreal proclamations of his vision for the future, how the world really works and his plan to save the shrinking grids.

    Remind you of anyone from history?

    1. Forget history, just look back a few races for current incumbent. Recent history ? Saddam H fits the bill.

  36. Oh, my, god! There is so much wrong with everything he spouts in this interview, it just isn’t worth the effort…

    Just one question to anyone who reads this comment – How old were you when you first started following F1?

    I was 12 – I’m interested in seeing how Bernie creates new fans from people aged 40+ that have never watched F1 before!!

    1. I was 9. The first memory I have from an F1 race is seeing Mansell’s tyre explode on a straight in Australia. I asked my parents to buy me his Scalelextric car for Christmas: demonstrating that child fans of a sport do have some market power, if not their own money.

    2. My dad took me to a race in Hockenheim when I was about half a year old, though I obviously don´t remember anything about that. Earliest memories was the 86 Mexican GP, and I know I haven´t missed (if you count re-live as not missing) a race since Monza 88 (I was 8 at the time). However, the last time I had a TV was 2004. Never had a Rolex, not planning to ever buy one. Smirnoff and JPS though… well.

      Thing is, I believe TV is going to die as a whole medium. It may take some more decades, but it seems just so completely obsolete when the Internet can do everything TV can and even more, except for charging fees for content (that doesn´t work all to well). F1 will sooner or later have to learn to live completely from advertising and tickets, and both would heavily profit from as much presense of F1 in the internet as possible. But that´s a far too long perspective for somebody who can´t keep a line of thought long enough for a single interview.

    3. I watched it occasionally from 4 (97) thanks to F1 video games, then I religiously followed it from 11 (04).

  37. This time last year I was relatively positive about F1. I supported Bernie as I felt the new rules for this season were a step in the right direction for our sport. I backed Ecclestone because I have nothing but respect for the way he built the sport by uniting teams under a common umbrella and bringing the sport a degree of highly commendable professionalism. Initially, when I saw the sport was going to races in Asia at the start of the noughties I was skeptical and although return through crowds has been less than even I had anticipated I now think the sport is better for it.

    That said, this sport has become an increasing joke over the past five years. Too many artificial ploys to add entertainment where there was really no need. IMO the best season of the past decade was 2010 which had no KERS, DRS, degradable tyres or double points. Not that there is anything wrong with recoverable power units. I guess, what I want is a close competitive sport where racers race. Boring races never bothered me. Turkey 2011 bothered me, that was a clear sign entertainment was more important than racing craft and skill to the powers that be.

    For me, that is due to the greed of Bernard Charles Ecclestone. The sponsorship problems and distribution of prize money is now not only laughable but now a genuine concern for the future of the sport. To my eyes, had Williams not had the foresight to team with Mercedes this year then they would be in dire straits. That would put them in the same pot as Sauber, Force India, Caterham, Marussia and last years fourth best team Lotus. That’s 6 from what I would call 10 teams. Toro Rosso will probably leave 3 or 4 years before Red Bull pull the plug which given the noises they made in pre-season could be any tine in the next decade. Mercedes only returned in 2010, where their predecessors pulled out due to lack of funding. They could easily leave too, which leaves 2 teams which are in it for the long haul. That is absolutely ridiculous to me. F1 should have 12 healthy teams and 2 or 3 chancers who can maybe only make it to the European rounds but are in it for the love of the sport. Under the current regime that is utterly impossible. The entire sport is desperately in need of revision.

    Which brings us back to Bernie. I saw a commenter on this website last week say he did not feel Bernie’s age was relevant. I however think that the fan base of F1 would be greatly increased if the sport embraced youtube and twitter. That will not happen with Bernie. He sees the young as too fickle and therefore it is a waste of time. How wrong he is. I remember falling in love with F1 at a very young age, 6 or 7. My parents used to watch races if they were on, but were not racers in any way. I got a copy of F1 1998 for my christmas on the PS1 and played it everyday. It wasn’t the races that made me knowledgeable about the sport but magazines and games. 2 weeks in the life of a 10yo is a long time and without the games I can not be sure I would have followed the sport at all. Now of course, I have researched the sport and watch all the races and because it has been on in my house so have my parents. Essentially Bernie had got a family of fans to watch and attend races through interacting with the young. He just doesn’t admit it. If F1 is to thrive we need to allow young people to feel part of this club.

  38. “It’s quite strange because you don’t see people walking around with any flags or waving them like you used to.”
    That’s because we fans do not love F1 anymore like we ‘used to’.

    But being the eternal optimist: please CVC, please step in and get rid of the senile guy. He is killing our sport, and slowly evaporating your investment with it.

    1. CVC are as bad as Bernie. They’ve had the chance to get rid of him and haven’t taken it which shows where their priorities are placed.

      CVC are making a fortune out of F1 – don’t be fooled into thinking that the issues that F1 is facing now is going to translate to a reduction in profits for CVC.

      Their involvement in F1 is 100% about money. Nothing else.

  39. Its not popular to agree with Bernie but hes right in my view. Of course hes antagonising a bit, but so what, shall we all play puppy dog to the whim of the armchair fan. They, the armchair fans, are the first to squeal and last to put their hand in their pocket. F1 doesn’t need twitter or facebook, it needs cars racing, which Bernie has put on through thick and thin. Yes its got too expensive to race but it was always a rich mans sport. You want to go watch cheap racing, theres plenty on. go watch it.

    Football tried chasing the Asian audience and much to the likes of Man Utds surprise the fans there just supported whoever won the league. Point is your core audience is who you should be listening to not those looking for a cheap..nee free thrill.

  40. Went to first GP at age 13 and became a rabid fan hooked on every nuance of the phenomena that WAS F1.
    Bernie’s mismanagement has unhooked me. BTW I am now in Bernie’s target demographic at age 60.

  41. I’ve been a Formula 1 (Grand Prix racing) fanatic fan since 1967. I really think “Old Scrooge” has lost it! He is not making any positive decisions in the interest of F1 anymore. We as “older F1 Fans” have also been treated as trash over the last couple of years…noe he’s also slamming women & younger (new) fans!!! Bloody redicilous in a time when F1 teams are leaving & can’t cope with the costs in F1.
    Maybe (as I’ve said before) it’s time to allow the smaller teams to run customer chassis and even run one car if they wish. And YES, if Ferrari, McLaren & Red Bull do want to run a third car or have a “B Team” let them do it! The “B Teams” can then score points for e “B Team” and not towards the main contructors championship.
    The shortest & best solution remains for CVC & “Scrooge” to to share more money from their huge cake to help the smaller & new teams. Why must the Big 5 get that much money anyhow?
    I wonder what will happen if Mercedes & Renault decide to pull the plug (as did BMW,Honda & Toyota) on F1? We need the smaller teams, like them or not!!

  42. I’m 19 years old, so i guess i count as a young fan.

    If he really has that kind of mentality then i really hope other people my age just don’t bother with Formula 1 and it’ll die eventually, the things this man say almost make me want F1 to fail.

  43. Who is in charge of the sport? Because last time I checked it was called the ‘FIA Formula One World Championship’, not the ‘Bernie Formula One World Championship’.

    1. Problem is that as commercial rights holder, CVC/FOM are in control of the circus. What’s even more worrying is that FOM also controls GP2 and GP3.

      1. And we have Max M to thank for that, you’d have thought the FIA would have stepped in and put a stop, ahhhh wait, OK @^#%)$ stupid me.

  44. I’ll set up a crowdfunding myself. Raise money to travel to Abu Dahbi with a Paddock pass. Kick this man somewhere painfull.

  45. This interview is like it is straight from the 60s. World changes, bernie doesn’t.

  46. We’ve been told for years (not by F1F) that Bernie Ecclestone is a master deal-maker, an expert in negotiation and the visionary who made Formula 1 what it now is.

    Finally, it appears that even sycophants like Eddie Jordan are starting to see Ecclestone for what he really is: a money-grabbing leech on the sport who has no interest in doing what is best for F1, just what will line his pockets with even more money in the short-term.

    The big problem is that this short-termism suits CVC too. Their only interest is in producing as much money in as short a time as possible. There is no one in charge of F1 who is looking at the long-term.

    1. And just to add, Ecclestone seems genuinely baffled by why the Premier League is popular in Asia. Well one reason Bernie why the Premier League attracts more Asian viewers than the Spanish, German or Italian leagues is because the Premier League is genuinely competitive. The lower teams regularly beat the higher placed teams. And why is that? It’s because the Premier League is one of the few leagues in the world where TV deals are negotiated on a collective basis – and the prize money is then shared out across the league. It’s not shared evenly – you get more money depending on where you finish in the league and how many times you feature on TV – but the difference between the top and bottom clubs in earnings is much smaller than in F1:

      2013-14 Premier League TV revenue:
      Highest payment to a team: Liverpool (finished 2nd in the league) – £97.5m
      Lowest payment to a team: Cardiff City (finished last in the league) – £62.1m
      Cardiff receive 64% of the revenue of Liverpool

      2013 F1 TV revenue
      Highest payment to a team: Ferrari (3rd in CWC) – $209.4m
      Lowest payment to a team: Marussia (Last in CWC) – $10.0m
      Marussia receive 5% of the revenue of Ferrari.

      A more even distribution of money leads to a more competitive championship which leads to a better spectacle which leads to more viewers and more revenue. It’s not rocket science.

      1. I thinks it’s even worse than that; last year every team got at least $10 million, even 11th place. This year (2014) the last place (11th) team gets nothing. If I’m wrong please correct me.

  47. “It’s quite strange because you don’t see people walking around with any flags or waving them like you used to.”

    I’ve been to 3 GPs this year and have seen plenty of flags and other merch — mostly for Ferrari, but also for Red Bull, Mercedes and McLaren as well as some of the smaller teams.

    I guess Bernie is blind as well as ignorant, bigoted and generally vile.

    1. Yes, I’ve been to Singapore three times and there was always a lot of team colours being flown. And that’s at a GP where heaps of tickets are given away as corporate gifts to people who really don t care about F1 but who are just there for a night out.

  48. kenneth Ntulume
    14th November 2014, 13:08

    I am An African and this guy sounds deluded like African dictators, he could easily have been one.
    Believe me I know them quite well, clueless, powerful, listen to no one, lack emotions, but someone get lucky and rule forever…

  49. * ring ring * * ring ring* * ring ring *
    Hello? Yes. Right. Bernie! It’s the 1970’s, they say they want their outmoded attitudes and luddite thinking back.

  50. This would be hilarious if it wasn’t so tragic.

  51. Am I the only one hoping Bernie will say something grossly offensive or even racist that will finally create a public outcry for his resignation? I don’t care at this point if he keeps making a crazy amount of money as long as he’s no longer running the sport!

    Or if the GPWC talks started up again I’d be keen to that too.

    1. He already has! No one bothers to make an outcry because the only people watching are 70 year old men who think women are domestic appliances… etc. Please Note. That is a direct Bernie quote, so not libellous at all.

      1. Don’t forget “Hitler knew how to get things done” ditto Putin.

  52. Old man picking young wives and selling business to old people. LIGHTS OUT!

  53. I love how pretty much every bernie article lately has had Horner in the frame of the associated image. Has anyone asked him recently if he’d take up the reigns? I know there were some people suggesting it a while back.

  54. Bernie has realised he doesn’t have long to go but still has plenty of stupid things to say. Expect more insanity from our friendly Davros impersonator.

  55. Let me get the straight, young fans are irrelevant too f1, yet Red Bull who has one of the most successful marketing strategies of the last decade choose to use the F1 brand as their flagship of the company, that is predominantly aimed at the youth of this world. Hell there’s going to be a 17yr old kid on the grid next year does Bernie think Max is irrelevant.

    1. Great point.

    2. From Bernie’s point of view, yes the young fans are irrelevant. They don’t pay Bernie’s bills. TV revenue, track fees, track advertising, and CVC sponsors such as Rolex are the ones who count with Bernie. That’s where his money comes from, so from his perspective the fans, of any age, can go scr*w themselves and he’ll be perfectly happy. And for right now, make exactly the same amount of money. Truly, the fans don’t matter to Bernie.

  56. RB (@frogmankouki)
    14th November 2014, 14:08

    By reading all of these comments I’m continually reminded that I’m not the only one who believes Bernie is out of touch. The man needs to be dealt with in someway. I’m not sure how this can be accomplished but it’s truly what the sport needs. I could repeat what many of you have said in the comments because most of the comments are true and from the relevant fan base. The only thing I meaningful I could add is WE NEED NIKI LAUDA to be in charge of F1! It might be hard to convince Niki to leave Mercedes AMG but he has the idea of what F1 needs. If we can’t get him to lead are there any other individuals worthy of the position? (Hypothetically of course because it’s obvious Bernie won’t leave until he dies.)

  57. RB (@frogmankouki)
    14th November 2014, 14:09

    By reading all of these comments I’m continually reminded that I’m not the only one who believes Bernie is out of touch. The man needs to be dealt with in someway. I’m not sure how this can be accomplished but it’s truly what the sport needs. I could repeat what many of you have said in the comments because most of the comments are true and from the relevant fan base. The only thing meaningful I could add is: WE NEED NIKI LAUDA to be in charge of F1! It might be hard to convince Niki to leave Mercedes AMG but he has the idea of what F1 needs. If we can’t get him to lead are there any other individuals worthy of the position? (Hypothetically of course because it’s obvious Bernie won’t leave until he dies.)

    1. Hans (@hanswesterbeek)
      14th November 2014, 14:49

      I agree that Bernie is either about to lose al his control over F1, or that he should be forced to. However, what he USED to be is an interest in the sport that is not particularly team-bound. Lately we have seen what abysmal decisions and proposals team principles can come up with in order to help “the sport” (read: their shareholders). That made me realize that Bernie’s control was one that was more in the interest of the sport (albeit commercially). Now that Bernie’s grip appears to be slipping, I am afraid that things won’t get better when Ecclestone lets go.
      (I like the idea of having someone like Niki Lauda take over, indeed, provided that he will let go of any ties he has to Mercedes.)

  58. Whether Bernie likes it not the management and running of the sport is in crisis. What the falling appeal to tv audiences, the ever spiralling costs, the financial situation of the smaller teams and the overall lack of competitiveness, the whole thing is in danger of going down the pan. All the infightling is very unappealing and if they are not careful people will start deserting the sport in ever greater numbers.

  59. Feel free to register your disgust at Bernie’s comments with his employers.

    CVC Capital Partners Limited
    111 Strand
    WC2R 0AG

    Telephone:+44 207 420 4200
    Fax:+44 207 420 4231

    E-mail: (Director, CVC Capital Partners Limited London)

    Other non-UK residents might want to browse
    and look for an alternative address (ie.):

    1. Cheers for that – I’ve emailed him for comment. I absolutely expect to get nothing but it’s worth a go. If anyone has any email addresses for any directors or similar for any company involved in F1 (sponsors, organisations etc), post them here!

      No response from Rolex yet surprisingly to suggest that they disagree with Bernie’s comments. I guess they agree that they are an old washed up brand that youngsters have no interest in.

      1. Just to add for those on Twitter, tweet @Rolex for the official Rolex account. I really want to hear what they have to say about Bernie’s comments!

    2. apologies – the email address just bounced. I’ll try to find a “working” address….

      1. Carsten Huwendiek
        Head of Communications, CVC Capital Partners
        Tel: +44 20 7420 4240

        1. oh – and hasn’t bounced yet…….

          1. sorry to keep replying to myself… it looks a little selfobsessed :)

            Here’s a copy of what I’ve sent to:

            Dear Sir,

            In respect of the reported comments of Mr B. Ecclestone (
            I wish to register my absolute disgust at his misogynistic and ageist attitudes. I personally believe that his comments are severely derogatory to your investments in the sport of F1. Such behaviour
            is absolutely inexcusable for any public figure, no matter the status or wealth of the individual.

            Yours faithfully,


  60. and this is a guy that people listen to?!

  61. OmarR-Pepper (@)
    14th November 2014, 15:15

    I’m starting to think that Bernie is far from being senile. I guess all his “crazy and contradictory” comments will finally have a goal, some way to take out the current “obstacles” in his way (small teams) and make room for new sponsors and people who just want to agree with his points of view. So more money for him in the end.

  62. [“In the old days you’d see people walking around with Ferrari flags and the whole place would be full of red. I don’t see that any more. It’s quite strange because you don’t see people walking around with any flags or waving them like you used to. The world changes.”]

    So does Ferrari deserve the extra certain millions they get every year? What a sham and a shame that they are producing taxis.

  63. Article Suggestion:
    “The 50 Most Baffling things Mr. E has ever said”
    Any such list must include his idea for flooding the track with water to spice up the action.

    Aren’t most F1 fans grown up versions of the young fan that fell in love with the sport? I know I am.

  64. Bernie’s an arrogant dinosaur and needs to be replaced

  65. “Young kids will see the Rolex brand, but are they going to go and buy one? They can’t afford it. Or our other sponsor, UBS – these kids don’t care about banking. They haven’t got enough money to put in the bloody banks anyway. That’s what I think.”

    Good point Bernie. So it isn’t young fans that are irrelevant, it’s the sponsors that you choose for the sport that are irrelevant.

    1. Yeah, bring NFS or EA as sponsors, more young people will be interested

    2. Rolex is an aspirational brand. Youngsters may not buy in the next 10 pr 20 years but they just might when they have the coin. Even if not then, the association of Rolex with exclusivity and luxury is still being built by today’s advertising. And when non Rolex wearers see a Rolex on the arm of someone else another perception of wealth and luxury is built. Rolex would definately want sales now, but they and other lux brands play a long game and a different game to the usual consumer product.

  66. IMO, young people know more about the current V6 engine with ERS than Bernie ! There’s a 17 yr. driver signed for 2015 and he talks things like that ? Bernie’s not fit enough to lead F1. Take a break !

  67. It sounds like Bernie is gearing up for becoming the Republican candidate in the 2016 election for US President.

    1. Perfect for the job, it’s always the other guys fault.

  68. gastonmazzacane
    14th November 2014, 20:44

    …and ecclestone has lost his sense.

  69. Bernie needs to leave F1.

  70. He has a very bad choices…

  71. Well, I guess I can give F1 another go in 40 years time, if that is what the main spokesperson of the sport desires.

  72. I would suggest that Bernie has taken his lessons well from Ms Kardashian..they both seem to want to show their arse at the most inappropriate times…but neither of them care, because it satisfies the “column inches” requirement…

  73. No youngsters don’t buy Rolexes and bank with Santander. But at 31 neither do I. In fact I’m sure it’s a fractional percentage of the overall viewership figures that do.

    What they do though is buy Red Bull, Renaults, Hondas, phones, Puma and so on.

    Having SAP on the side of a McLaren rather than Lucozade or Vodafone is awful marketing. How many people in charge of making the kinds of decisions that involve being a SAP customer are actually swayed by it being on an F1 car?

    For someone who saw the potential of F1 on TV back in the day which turned it into the modern Goliath, I am surprised that even if he doesn’t understand new media, he can’t defer judgement to those that can.

    They also grow old and some in the future will buy that upmarket elitist tat Bernie seems so keen to promote, but then the future of the sport is not a concern for someone who must be nearing the end of his contract with Beelzebub.

    1. Also, as someone dealing with SAP customers, their system is absolute crap and if a company I applied a job for, uses that system, I would not take it – even if I got a Rolex for free!!

  74. In some of the comments, he sounds woefully out of touch. On the subject social media and marketing the numbers suggest he is correct, unfortunately for those who disagree.

    At no stage does Bernie say young fans are irrelevant as the article title suggests, but he does talk about how you can (or can’t) market to them, so he doesn’t see the point in F1 doing so. The way you engage young fans is by making the sport entertaining, which he briefly mentions as a problem F1 needs to address. When kids are young, they care about watching their heroes on track, they don’t care about brands (although neither do adults.) The overwhelming evidence is that it doesn’t drive sales compared to other digital channels. This is the kind of thing Bernie gives two hoots about when selling his product to others.

    In the U.S. over 70% of the wealth of the country is controlled by the over 50’s and it’s a similar story elsewhere. Neilsen (also reporting from the US) calls this group “The most valuable generation in the history of marketing.” So the facts are that if you want to make a lot of money, you have to encourage people with money to go out and spend it. Young people are not likely to present that opportunity. Aiming marketing at people who can spend money is what any marketer would do, aiming it at kids is just lunacy. You aim the fun of the sport at kids, and/or low cost products.

    What I do despise in his comments however, is his baseless and unabated sexism. I find those views completely unfounded derogatory waffle, along with several other recent comments supporting reprehensible behavior and people.

  75. This was a post from The Onion, right?

  76. Well, I started watching F1 when I was 18, I am 27 now and I recently bought a honda accord, only because Senna drove a honda engine. My next car is going to be a mercedes if I can earn enough money to buy one. Why mercedes? well, take a guess.
    We fans shouldn’t be tortured like this by such people who have no interest in the sport other than money. Bernie, CVC, Sky sports, the “big” teams, they are all in this together and they are strangling everyone that comes their way. The older richer fans will die soon and without the younger fan base, F1 will wander aimlessly on dull tracks in countries with no fan base or heritage before it ultimately dies out. Wow, that was a dark comment, but i know exactly whom to blame.

    1. I could not have put it better myself. The attitude of Bernie and his cronies to the historic tracks is a another sign of being out of touch with the fan base. I mean who really wants a race in Azerbaijan! Austria was only re-instated because of Red Bull’s money and influence.

      1. Yes, and where does Redbull make their money from? Certainly not the over 50’s!!

  77. Bernie is senile. He is also the greatest troller in the history of trolling. I bet he goes home at night sits down and think “How the hell do those guys still let me run this show?” Its crazy!

  78. Daniel (@collettdumbletonhall)
    14th November 2014, 23:32

    Oh dear, I sort of can’t wait for it to all collapse in his face. We’ll see who complains too much then Bernie.

  79. I think we are seeing Bernie Ecclestone’s true colours here – those of a jumped up used car salesman, which of course was what he started out as. No foresight, no concept of investing in quality and in the future, just grab the quick buck while it’s there and to hell with the long term consequences. Good grief.

  80. Is this just bernie playing games again? This might not be for the public’s benefit, but designed to trick rivals or his bosses into thinking he’s out of touch with senility kicking in?

    Only to then to put his gameface on in any backroom powerplays.

    I’ve watched Bernie long enough to see him time-after-time appear to be a lunatic on his last legs. Then 6 months later he’s still in power, with his vision fulfilled and more cash in his pocket

  81. So he now insults the F1 audience?! Mr E – just get out. You’re a relic, out of touch and irrelevant. We don’t need your mocking and abuse.

  82. Bernie is just an old fart with a lot of money. That’s why he’s still here. Should just let someone of the previous generation run the whole oversee of F1, not someone that seems to like it then not like it whenever he feels like it.

  83. Re “Have the viewers declined? I doubt it,” he said. “The viewership is just spread in different areas because today people can watch on these iPads or on even telephones.”
    The problem here is Mr Ecclestone isn’t actually talking about F1, although you’d think he was, since that is what he is supposed to be talking about, and maybe he thinks he is, but no, he is talking about the power of the internet and the falling cost of getting information across the internet and onto your smartphone or tablet. “Viewers” have undoubtedly increased, in fact I wouldn’t be surprised if there are more viewers now than ever in history, but they aren’t looking at F1, they are looking at computer games, stuff on the internet (like this website), soaps, home and garden shows, advertorials, applications on their smartphones, social media, We Chat, etc. F1 is competing with We Chat and the other apps on my smartphone.
    F1 needs advertisers to support it, but all of us viewers aren’t looking at the adverts that support F1, we are watching traditional “every 10 minutes” adverts on Free-to-Air TV, product placements in soaps and home-handyman shows, and advertorials, and not just that, adverts on websites like Facebook, adverts on your email account, and adverts that come with the applications on your smartphone.
    So how well does F1 do fitting into this new “spread in different areas” market for everyones viewing time? They don’t, F1 is on Pay-TV, which discourages viewers. F1 wants less viewers, and they succeeding. As an example, the Super Cheap Auto Bathurst 1000 race that was recently had the lowest amount of viewers for a long long time. How can a race that is held in such high esteem have such a low amount of viewers? Because it was broadcast only on Pay-TV.
    So Mr Ecclestone is right, yes, there are more viewers, and yes, they are viewing in different areas, and yes, they are viewing in new ways, but those more viewers aren’t viewing F1, those different areas aren’t being ignored in favour of F1, and the new viewing options overlook F1; so now it is even easier to ignore F1 than before, so F1 gets less attention than ever, and that is the crux of the matter.

    1. @drycrust, I watched the 1000 on FTA, 7 I think, here in Oz. Where are you?

      1. @HoHum: I live in New Zealand. It was broadcast here on Sky Sports, which is one of the premium Pay-TV channels. My understanding is it costs $74.75 to watch this channel per month (calculated from the prices on their website today). I looked up the TV ratings statistics for it a few days afterwards, and Google had found a news report published the Monday following the race, and in it they quoted the estimated viewing audience in New Zealand was something like half what it was the last time the race was broadcast live and Free-to-Air.
        If you see adverts in a Free-to-air motor race, don’t grumble too loudly otherwise you could loose seeing the race altogether.
        I think if I was GM Marketing for Super Cheap Auto NZ I would be really brassed off when I found out that at least 100,000 people weren’t seeing my brand name for the several hours the average viewer would be watching that race.

        1. @drycrust, Yes, and why would you pay top $ to sponsor a team when half the fans can’t watch/

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