Ecclestone: “F1 is the worst it’s ever been”

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: Bernie Ecclestone launches another attack on Formula One as testing for the new season is set to begin.

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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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65 comments on “Ecclestone: “F1 is the worst it’s ever been””

  1. “Formula One is the worst it has ever been. I wouldn’t spend my money to take my family to watch a race.”

    Yet FOM keeps selling the television rights to channels that we have to pay to watch. Right…..

    1. @andybantam he didn’t say he wouldn’t pay to watch it on TV. Money spent on tickets to watch a race is about the only revenue stream which doesn’t benefit FOM.

      1. @jerseyf1

        Yes, you’re right.

        I was trying to illustrate that comments like that don’t sit well when his company are finding new ways to charge more and more for his product. A very strange situation…

        If he wouldn’t pay to take his family to see an F1 race, why do the circuits have to pay FOM so much for the circus to come? So, in a way, ticket revenue does benefit FOM. No ticket sales = no money for staging fees = circuit deals being renewed = less exposure for F1 in a specific country.

        1. Wow….Bernie, really? I think when you start to shoot yourself in the foot once or twice a week then senility has certainly set in.

          1. He is just pis-sed he ain’t getting his own and that Merc and Ferrari aren’t doing his wishes like Red Bull. He was perfectly happy with Red Bull being the predictable winner.
            Bernie and Max are like immature children that start to scream and yell when there own isn’t happening.
            I really enjoy seeing him buff and cry.

    2. I regard the comment as the equivalent of Gerald Ratner describing some jewellery his (former) company sold as “cheaper than an M&S [Marks and Spencer] prawn sandwich but probably wouldn’t last as long”. Fortunately many casual fans either have no idea what sort of nonsense Bernie spouts these days, or has long since tuned it out because of its nonsensical. Otherwise “doing a Ratner” (a boss seriously endangering one’s company by saying something critical of one’s product at a foolish time) would probably change to “doing a Bernie”.

      As it stands, I will paraphrase Vijay Mallya and simply ask Bernie to unworstify F1 (and not by gimmicks such as the ones proposed to the Daily Mail, which itself lacks the sort of critical thinking necessary to realise the connection between gimmicks and F1’s deterioration).

  2. Waoh Bernie! What a way to sell your product.

    What does he have against Merceses? This ceaseless thrashing of F1 either of the engine or the ‘noise’ level or what else has been ongoing since Mercedes demoted Redbull. When he agreed to the new rules what was he expecting? Who did he expect to carry the winning flag of F1?

    “It’s pretty funny because he had four years of it and I’ve only had two.”

    – Lewis Hamilton.

    Touche Seb!

    1. Tata, the difference is that Red Bull are Bernie’s political allies in the sport and have often actively assisted him, whilst Mercedes are not his allies and have tended to oppose him. Bernie’s found himself with an opponent that is quite powerful and therefore he cannot exert as much leverage over Mercedes as he would like, hence his vocal complaints to the press.

    2. lewis Hamilton is stupid to say that, Redbull were not dominant in 2009 or 2012, they just “WON”, infact Hamilton had a faster car in 2012 and a championship winning one in 2010, but he crashed out late in season and so Vettel won.

      1. Learn how to start a person’s name and punctuate well before calling anyone “stupid”.

        I doubt you used the same word to describe Seb when he made his own opinion on Mercedes winning races recently.

        Pls be civil.

  3. I’ve been the promoter of a sport that’s not worth watching or attending for around 30 years. What does it say about me?

    Well, for starters it says that you’re very bad in what you do. Or that you’ve extracted so much money from it, and never invested in it, that it’s got into a point where even you feel that’s not worth the effort to salvage it. Or that you’ve left all those people that truly followed the sport behind and never cared about them. Or that you’re probably the only guy in any bussines that tries to sell a product in a market that cannot support your bussines in the long term, like Korea, or Turkey. Or that you’ve been talking down what you sell for so long that no one really believes you anymore.

    Or maybe all that put together, and more, as my fellow commentators will be quick to point out.

    Being the one with the most power in F1, you’d believe he’s the only one to come up with an answer, or seek advice to solve F1’s inherent problems. Specially on the marketing side, the finantial side. But oh, no… he’s busy pushing Monza out of F1, and shaking hands with the big bosses at Bahrain and Baku… where F1 is as popular as cricket on the Moon.

    Bernie Ecclestone, what the heck is wrong with you?!

    1. he’s old. Too old. WAY too old, that’s what’s happening with him.

      1. No he has been greedy and only caring about #1 all his life, age has nothing to do with it.

    2. I’d say it hasn’t been worth watching for at least 20 years. Maybe up until 2005 with the V10 screamers were good too, but over the last 30 years have included those 1986 1,350+ hp qualifying monsters, and the jaw-droppingly pretty cars from ’88 to ’94.

    3. It’s probably a media ploy to drive down the cost of f1, hopefully forcing the people to sell, probably to Bernie, for a lower cost.

    4. @fer-no65 Agree completely.

      I cannot imagine the CEO of a any company calling his own product or service rubbish. It’s usually results in the board of directors stepping in and firing the CEO.

      Bernie has no one else but himself to blame for the condition the sport finds itself in. He’s been at the healm of the sport for the last 40 years, and now suddenly he wouldn’t want to promote his own company in good light.

      Someone needs to get rid of this guy

      1. Ever heard of Gerald Ratner? Shame the same thing can’t happen to Bernie :-/

        1. I was just going to post something similar.

        2. And yet still the F1 diehards will continue to buy subs to watch. That says more about the IQ of F1 fans than Bernie. In my book the man is golden, he can do and say what he wants and still the masses pay him millions.

        3. I think it could, if Bernie said it in the wrong place, or the wrong way. He just needs to make it the sort of internet meme that mainstream circles take up, and CVC would be furnishing dismissal papers faster than Bernie can say “Down with YouTube!”

      2. i just can think on Lee Iacoca, the miracle worker for Chrysler. He took a dying manufacturer and turn it into profit way before it was expected. What was his secret? sell cars that people want and people need, and demand. His catchphrase on ads? “if you find a better car, buy it”. So he build the minivan and made was a massive succes. Because he listened to his costumers, and give them what they want. So, why bernie is in no way a match to Iacocca? because he don’t want to do an F1 that the fans demand. He wants to force us whatever the hell make him more rich, in disregard to the fanbase. So that’s the thing.

  4. About Lewis. Love you, man, but really, Seb’s 2 out of 4 championship seasons were the best we’ve had in the history of our sport.

    And you’re just beating Britney…

    You’ve both been boring in your own ways. Not that it’s either’s fault, but let’s be honest: it’s always fun when you are winning, isn’t it?.

    1. OmarRoncal - Go Seb!!! (@)
      22nd February 2016, 2:00


      1. Don’t you think if you’re going to say “go Seb” you should at least have his helmet as your avatar picture and not Kimi’s?

    2. No One Better (@)
      22nd February 2016, 3:23

      Funny you don’t understand it but the lack of an inhouse threat was what made life so easy for Vettel. The RB was the dominant car for four years. The only way yo beat it was reliability or jumping Vettel at the start. Vettel was consistently winning while the others took points from each other with the odd win here or there. That played into Vettels favor.

      1. Not this again. Go re-watch Seb’s seasons and grab a clue this time

        1. Maybe you should check the meaning of the word dominant.

          People can talk about how close 2 out his 4 championship wins were close, but the fact still remains, he won 4 titles in a row, that’s dominant.

          Dominance is about sustainability and both he and Red Bull did so for 4 years.

          I remember he was asked about him winning making the sport boring, I believe it was at Monaco, to which he pretty much said he doesn’t care, because his teams working their socks off whilst others were dangling their balls in the pool.

          Time he takes his balls out the pool

          1. And would you describe those two closely fought seasons as “boring”?

          2. Generally domination is more about the margin than the sustain. For example:

            If someone wins 5 tennis matches that all go down to tie-breakers in the final set, then that’s hardly considered domination. On the other hand if someone wins 5 matches all by 3 sets, that’s definitely domination.

            Similarly physical domination is entirely defined by one party being able to entirely overpower another. If two were to have a close fighting contest regularly over a long period with one just coming out on top, then that would hardly be considered domination.

            Again, margin, not sustainability. Mercedes margin has definitely been larger than Red Bulls, therefore they have *drum roll please* been more dominant. Not sure if something is lost in translation with the word “dominant” but it definitely has little to do with sustainability, you can be dominant for a year or only a few minutes.

    3. petebaldwin (@)
      22nd February 2016, 10:43

      @fer-no65 – I think the best way to sum it up would be by saying that I am a Lewis Hamilton fan and enjoyed 2010-13 infinitely more than 2014-15!

      Red Bull weren’t unbeatable, Seb didn’t give up once he’d won the title, Seb looked like he was driving the wheels off his car instead of cruising around slowly…

      It looked like Seb was at the absolute peak of his form when he won those titles. With Hamilton, it looks like he was more focused on other areas of his life and did just enough to beat Rosberg and therefore, win the title.

    4. Lewis is absolutely right! He still has to win 9 in a row in a season while his teammate with the same “dominant car” fails to win any all season long.

    5. Britney is a lot faster that Webber was. Just put Britney in the same car as Vettel and lets see if things will look so easy for Seb. He may even get his ass kicked. People seriously underestimate Rosberg.

  5. I agree with Ecclestone, but I wish he’d realize he’s at least partially (or even significantly) to blame…

    1. Almost entirely! more likely.

  6. I also agree with Ecclestone’s opinion on current state of F1. But we the question is whether he isn’t saying this because Red Bull is not winning, even though his complains about current formula (noise in particular) are not new. But since he say it is wrong then he should act to improve it especially since he has been given a mandate to impose better rules, otherwise his words are simply ridiculous. Many bad things are thanks to him, including the one I read about today in which he proposed reversing the top 10 from qualifying onto Sunday’s grid.

    Also, I am not a big fan of NASCAR but I really recommend everyone of you to watch final lap of today’s Daytona!

    1. * Many bad things are thanks to him, and today I read an article in which he proposed reversing the top 10 from qualifying for Sunday’s race.

    2. Racerdude7730
      22nd February 2016, 2:02

      Not the biggest nascar fan either but it was a great race and the last few laps were amazing. Closest finish in Daytona history. Maybe 3 inches

    3. Yes, he is delusionary, his gimmicks (clown tyres #1) are what have been dragging F1 down for decades, now he proposes even more fake gimmicks to solve the failure of past gimmicks.

    4. @michal2009b

      Also, I am not a big fan of NASCAR but I really recommend everyone of you to watch final lap of today’s Daytona!

      the last half a lap may have been good but the other 199 & a half were far more boring than f1.

      watching cars running around side by side or single file pushing/pulling each other along in the tow where its all about car setup & lucking into the right hole to move forward & far less about pure driver skill (as there just running flat out all day) is not what i consider to be fun.

  7. I think it’s the first time in years that Ecclestone says something that makes sense. Completely spot on. Whether it is his own fault or not, that’s another subject.

  8. Ecclestone is saying that because he doesn’t have the degree of control he had since Max Mosley was president. He feels as though there must be an autocratic dictator who makes all the decisions with the benefit of F1 in mind (the word benefit may not be entirely accurate; Ecclestone is really just a guy who likes to do business deals)- because he feels, with a democracy, nothing gets done. And he is mostly right. That is my understanding, at least.

    1. Results show that his not right. Things are being done just fine now with the more democratic Todt and the only one that stops things from progressing nicely is Ecclestone and his Red Bully and Pirelli boys.
      All the others are fine with the new engines and Todt manage to get some nice cheap engines for the smaller teams etc.
      The problems are the awful tyres that are made under Bernies instructions, Red Bull and her engines drama is result of their Ecclestone bedding and bad attitude, and as about the negativity that many negative fans are parroting, it actually started from Ecclestone.
      He was the one who started the “OMG! this engines are awful because i can’t hear them since i lost my hearing long ago”. Hell the guy was complaining before they were even made.
      Sky made a poll right when the new engine came to when Brundle etc where still shocked on how less they sounded on TV etc and were negative in their live comments and yet the result about them was still 50%-50%. F1fanatic made a poll and most fans like them etc.

  9. Bernie must be in a CVC hedge fund. You know, just covering all the bases financially of course. Because that’s all that really matters to Bernie.

    The state of Formula 1 is that it is a 3 headed beast. The three heads, FOM, FIA and the teams, are all chopped off laying on the ground squawking at each other and blaming each other for all of F1’s problems. The beast is still somehow surviving, but wandering and wondering who or what will come along and be able to remedy its lack of unity, leadership and decision making abilities. We, the fans, are wondering the same and also if it is even possible to fix.

    The heads are all self serving and only want to serve their own self interest and in some cases, greed. All at the expense of the whole beast that is F1. They cannot seem to comprehend that if there is no F1, they all lose.

    Not to be pessimistic, but being realistic I don’t see how the proper decision making issues can ever be fixed within this current power structure. Here is a test. Let’s see if proper regulation changes can be agreed upon by the March deadline. By proper I mean regs that will benefit the sport, not make it worse. Any bets?

    Having said all that, there are a lot of complaints about the current state of F1. And yet, it is still an amazing racing series in its own right. Yes, it could be far better, even without going to some of the drastic measures being bandied about. Anyways, I’m still watching and somehow hoping for the best on the track and in the boardrooms.

  10. Lewis may not have dominated QUITE as much as Seb did but Red Bull did’nt win all but three races a year two years in a row. Unlike Mercedes.

    1. Lewis’ car dominated more, FULL STOP. for Vettel, for atleast 2 years o fhis “dominance” it was the driver that made the difference. Lewis is now struggling to shake off his teammate, something Vettel has never hada problem in doing. Lewis forgot he had an equal of better chance to win in 2 of the 4 championship winning years of Hamilton, in 2010 he cracked up at the end and crashed in races like Monza, in 2012 he had the fastest car and NOT VETTEL. also in 2010 vettel only won the championship in the last race, being about 17 points back -so his car was not the dominant package. 2011 and 2013 were dominant redbull years, but it was on more equal terms then now, as chassis development was free, and redbull had the best chassis with the worst engine. NOW engine development is not free and Hamilton is dominating in a package with dominant engine package. Vettels winning era is much more impressive

    2. I think the real problem is that Seb’s and Lewis’ dominations have been back-to-back. Crushing domination for five years in a row is not good for F1 (in 2012, Vettel would have won by a huge margin had Pirelli brought tyres fit for F1 from the first race, though it was well past mid-point of the season before that became obvious). As such, Lewis not only has the dissatisfaction of people who don’t like his personal or his team’s constructor domination, but also the fans disliking the cumulative large domination.

  11. “Formula One is the worst it has ever been. I wouldn’t spend my money to take my family to watch a race.”

    Who’s fault is it that the fees to hold a race are so high that not only do we not have a French GP, Nurburgring has also been dropped, the German GP in general is in danger, and so is Monza?
    Who’s fault is it that because the fees to hold a race are so high, the ticket prices are through the roof and as a result, the attendance drops?
    Who’s fault is it that so many races are being held in places which have zero interest in the sport, and plenty of places with a history in F1 cannot have a race?
    Who’s fault is it that the viewership in general has dropped enormously since Formula 1 went pay-TV because it costs too much to for TV stations to broadcast it live on cable?
    Who’s fault is it that F1 does not interact in the slightest with the fans on social media and alienates their fanbase completely?
    Who’s fault is it that great F1 videos keep getting blocked on YouTube which prevents us from promoting our sport to non-fans?

    Up until mid-2015, FOM did not even have a YouTube channel, which is just downright embarrassing. F1 is about 20 years behind NFL when it comes down to promoting their sport. FOM did not bother at all to interact with their fans on social media until their viewing figures dropped so low that they were forced to.

    Even now they do have a YT channel, the videos are very low effort compared to what some amateur video makers can create. They even refuse to upload decade-old classic races.

  12. Subjectively I do prefer watching Hamilton win to Vettel, I’m not going to say I’m impartial. I think Vettel is right and he’s wrong.

    When he dominated is was frustrating that not even his team mate was challenging him. In ’11 and ’13 you knew you were just tuning in to watch him collect another victory. In ’14 and ’15 we at least knew it was going to be a fight between Hamilton and Rosberg.

    But over his era we at least got 2 1/2 decent seasons of real fighting between teams. This year needs to have Ferrari really challenging because as happy as I am watching Hamilton collect some deserved championships, it’s not the same when it’s only against the one team mate. The race in Austin is what I want to be tuning into every week or so and you need a few teams in contention to get that.

  13. whatever, off course it was already included in the Roundup! good job keith

  14. Formula One is the worst it has ever been. I wouldn’t spend my money to take my family to watch a race.

    Legend has it that President Eisenhower had a plaque on his desk saying “The Buck Stops Here”. I think there is a desk at FOM that needs a plaque just like that … facing the person using the desk.

    1. @drycrust – Harry Truman I believe, but agree with the sentiment.

      Sadly, Bernie’s version of this is that the buck stops right in his pocket. And the euro, the peso, the mark…

      1. @bullmello Yes, you are right! Thanks for correcting me.
        I was actually surprised Mr Ecclestone said it, because it gives the sense he believes he failed F1. If he isn’t careful that might be what someone will write on his tombstone.
        He should have started to hand “the reigns” over to someone else some years ago, so taking the pressure off himself.

        1. Never mind his tombstone. It might be used against him at the EU Competition Commission where CVC and the five big teams are defending accusations of running a cartel.

  15. All eight Mercedes powered cars will have exactly the same hardware and performance potential come Melbourne, which is a good step for everyone.

    By the sounds of it there isn’t any software restrictions handicapping the customer teams, if so, then congratulations to Mercedes for letting the race outcome be decided on the track.

  16. Apex Assassin
    22nd February 2016, 8:59

    I hate agreeing with Bernie but he’s right. I usually would go to at least one race a year, two if there happened to be two on my continent on a given year. I’ve haven’t gone to one since 2011 and I won’t be back until the sport finds itself. And no one is forcing you to pay for F1. There is free F1 to watched worldwide, go find it and stop whinging.

    As for Lewis, I guess someone needs to show him some facts. In 2 of the Vettel 4pack of championships we had a great races and very close finishes for the championship and in none of those RBR year did both RBR drivers race off into the distance and come 1-2 and 90% of the races. Merc’s dominance hasn’t lasted as long but it’s more dominant. Results don’t lie.

    1. The maths still doesn’t add up, Seb had 4, Lewis 2. So how about before start saying “oh 2 of Seb’s were great”, why not Lewis get to the same 4 then make the comparisons? After the next 2 could be much greater than Seb’s 2 ever was.

      BTW, the 2014 season was good, it went down to the last race just like Seb’s 10 and 12 titles

      1. We get it, you don’t like Vettel and adore Hamilton…

        1. Dude, @Kgn11 doesn’t need to “don’t like Vettel and adore Hamilton” to point out that Seb had 4 years of dominance while Hamilton has only had two, so to outrightly claim that the 2 years of Ham winning – even with a team mate (Nico) that has more pole positions and won much more than Vettel’s team mate ever did, to claim that it is “more boring” is simply a lie. Fact remains that Rosberg has kept Hamilton more honest than Weber ever did.

          And @Kgn11 is right in simply saying wait until after 4 straight championships, if something like that ever happens with Hamilton, to judge whether 2 out of them are similar to Vettel’s or not. Simple. In fact, Hamilton has only had one dominant season (2015) as 2014 was down to the last race. You don’t need to “adore” someone to point that out.

          As much as anyone is right to defend Seb, so are others right to come to Hamilton’s defence.

      2. Please do not compare 2014 season finale to 2012 epic one or 2010 four-way fight between three teams ;)

  17. I don’t know Lewis, I may be biased, but I prefer 4 years of Vettel domination rather than even just one more year of Mercedes domination. The fact is that Mercedes won all but 6 races in the past 2 years, scoring pole position in all but 2. Arguably they could have won every single race except Singapore 2015 if they didn’t have reliability issues or mistakes from drivers and team.
    In 2010 five different drivers were fighting for the championship until the penultimate race. In 2012 there were 8 (if I’m not mistaken) different race winners. In the past couple of years only two drivers could realistically win races. Tell me how that is better.

  18. LOL, F1 practically sells itself… For sure FOM is not doing it.

    Lewis Hamilton making F1 booring like Vettel? :D Please. For Lewis to be booring like Vettel, he will have to do a much much better job.

    Mercedes however is doing a great job of keeping competition in the dust far far behind them. Much more than Red Bull did. It is very fair to say we had 4 years of Vettel era and now we have 2 years of Mercedes era. Because both Nico and Lewis are handily dominating far ahead for what feels like an eternity.

    All 4 Red Bull dominated seasons were contested often, many teams scored victories, competitiveness was resonably close. 2012 Winner of a GP was mostly random, 2013 Red Bull was not the dominant factor until end of spring… 2010 Alonso almost won the championship.. and 2011 things were not terrible for Lewis.

    But come 2014 and 2015 there was never any serius doubt winner will be from Mercedes team. 6 races in two years 2-3 on Merit. That is a staggering statistic. Lewis and Nico are the only redeeming feature, getting in to their inter-team squabbles.

    But just like every dominance is short live, so shall this one be. F1 should took a hard look at rules to ensure catching up was easier. Only that can keep dominances reasonably short.

    1. This ‘4 years of boring Vettel domination’ as opposed to ‘thrilling two years of exciting Mercedes fight’ is beyond ridiculous. Winning is not the same as dominating. 2010 and 2012 are known as one of the best seasons in F1 history because of the competitiveness. A slight element of fortune and both Alonso and Vettel would have had two titles each in that period. The truth is Mercedes’ rivals have won less races in 2014-15 as they did in 2011 when apparently everything was so dull. Also Red Bull hadn’t dominated for back-to-back seasons like Mercedes did which makes it look a lot different.

  19. Dominance for me has little to do with winning 4 titles in a row. It has to do with how fast a car is in comparison to other cars. In that sense, Seb was rarely close to what Lewis and Nico have had almost every race. So it is indeed very different. If Lewis had had more luck and one or the other better race, he could have won at least one of those 4 titles himself – and his car was actually at least on par with the Red Bull that season.

  20. Well. Considering he owns rights to sell F1… why doesnt he resign?

    This really ****** me ***.

    For the last 5-7 years nobody has worked harder to tarnish the image of Formula 1. His job is to sell F1 allover the world.. and this is his approach? “F1 is not worth buying…” Seriously?

    1. his Bribery affairs, 100M settlement cases in Germany.
    2. anti-competitive distribution of money to teams…
    3. introduction of gimmics…
    4. constant emphasis on how bad the sport is.
    5. total lack of internet/social media strategy
    Geez. There are my 5 points why FOM should sack him last month.

  21. Surely Bernie’s admission that his contracts have created a cartel won’t do him any good with the European Commission who are deciding the anti-trust case brought against FOM & FIA.

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