Bernie Ecclestone, Interlagos, 2016

Ecclestone’s departure confirmed by Liberty Media as it completes F1 takeover

2017 F1 season

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Liberty Media has confirmed the completion of its F1 takeover and the departure of Bernie Ecclestone as chief executive officer.

“I’m proud of the business that I built over the last 40 years and all that I have achieved with Formula One,” said Ecclestone in a statement, “and would like to thank all of the promoters, teams, sponsors and television companies that I have worked with.”

Chase Carey, Singapore, 2016
What are Liberty’s plans for F1?
“I’m very pleased that the business has been acquired by Liberty and that it intends to invest in the future of F1. I am sure that Chase will execute his role in a way that will benefit the sport.”

Ecclestone has been given a role as “chairman emeritus”. Chase Carey has been appointed as the new CEO of F1.

“I am excited to be taking on the additional role of CEO,” said Carey, who became F1’s chairman last September.

“F1 has huge potential with multiple untapped opportunities. I have enjoyed hearing from the fans, teams, FIA, promoters and sponsors on their ideas and hopes for the sport. We will work with all of these partners to enhance the racing experience and add new dimensions to the sport and we look forward to sharing these plans over time.”

“I would like to recognise and thank Bernie for his leadership over the decades. The sport is what it is today because of him and the talented team of executives he has led, and he will always be part of the F1 family. Bernie’s role as chairman emeritus befits his tremendous contribution to the sport and I am grateful for his continued insight and guidance as we build F1 for long-term success and the enjoyment of all those involved.”

Liberty’s purchase of Formula One values the sport at $8 billion.

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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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70 comments on “Ecclestone’s departure confirmed by Liberty Media as it completes F1 takeover”

  1. A radical overhaul within Formula 1. Not just on the track, but off the track and in the headlines. Let’s give Chase Carey some time though, knee-jerk reactions were one of the major issues with the outgoing establishment.

    1. @craig-o, and dare I say it, there seem to be quite a few fans responding with a knee jerk reaction of their own – in their haste to see the back of Bernie, few seem to have cared to ask the question of who and what comes next.

      After all, to begin with quite a large number of people were happy to see Mosely leave and thought that Todt’s initial behaviour, revolving more around consensus building, was a good thing – how opinions have changed since then. Liberty Media might have made a number of promises so far that seem to be geared to appeal to the fans, but time will tell whether or not that works out as planned.

      1. +1
        Better the devil you know, as they say.

        Thanks Bernie, you got us this far, lets hope Liberty don’t ruin the sport with their US views on how sport should be run.

        1. Liberty have now confirmed further hires in the wake of Ecclestone’s departure, including Ross Brawn:

        2. @9chris9

          Do you have any idea of Bernard Charles Ecclestone’s background and exceedingly murky
          history ? His name has been associated with more unsavoury ( not to say criminal )
          characters and events than a badly written crime novel. Some of the ‘deals’ he has
          manufactured go way beyond ‘questionable’ and deep into the sort of territory no
          reasonably operated business could touch with a barge pole. And as was proved recently
          in a German court, the man has the funds and the clout to make any ‘difficult ‘ questions
          simply evaporate. And this is the man whose dictat you would never dare confront if you valued your job in F1. It will take quite a few years to ventilate away the disgusting stench of corruption
          left behind in any office suite this man used.

          1. @loen
            Yes I have heard the stories of his past.

            They are just stories and no substance. A man of his wealth is an obvious target for anyone claiming compensation for any wrongdoing, so I would imagine any truth to the stories would have emerged in the courts and certainly in the press. Max Mosley is an eminent wealthy barrister and got plastered on the front pages of British press and successfully sued them despite obviously being engaged in the lewd acts depicted. If the Bernie stories are half true, the press would have been all over it.

      2. F1 financial situation is a shambles from the top down.
        It’s been discussed extensively that if it was run like other sports there would be fairer competition between teams and the fans would pay appropriate ticket prices. Why pay £300 for a race ticket when a football match is considered expensive if it’s £70.
        The next priority is the format of races and I don’t worry about that too much. Any rash decisions can and will be reversed as we saw last year and is based on fan response.
        They will give the sport back to you, the people.

      3. I feel like people have really not realized how much Ecclestone has been damaging the sport with his mindset, I seem to remember comments from him saying that F1 shouldn’t bother to try to appeal to younger generations because they won’t bring anything to F1’s sponsors. I believe the comment went along the lines of “what young person is going to buy a rolex?”
        He just completely lost touch with what modern F1 needs to do to stay relevant and especially in the age of digital media, people seem to forget there has not been a full grid since the 1995 Monaco grand prix if I’m not mistaken?
        The way the sport has been run financially the last few decades is just ridiculous, it feels like there has been far too much pandering to the super rich especially during times of global recession just completely out of touch.

  2. Good.

  3. @keithcollantine haha I think you just made the best unintentional pun ever; second paragraph: “Ecclestgone”!

  4. Goodbye, Bernie and thanks for everything. You definitely overstayed your time but I am one who remembers F1 while under Jean Marie Balestre. For a change, go out with some class and dignity and don’t be a convenient opinionated mouthpiece to the F1 media. By the way, take Charlie Whiting with you.

    1. take Charlie Whiting with you

      Pretty Please

    2. + a million.
      Charlie Whitting and race stewards such as Derek Warwick who have shown themselves to prefer certain drivers over others should be replaced.
      There needs to be a house clean-up.
      Injection of new faces don’t have to stop at the top level only.

  5. About bloody time.

  6. if a race that has a total attendance measured in hundreds of thousands makes a loss, the business model is wrong. if a team has a budget of many millions but cannot afford an engine, the business model is wrong. if viewing figures are falling off a cliff because the coverage is on pay tv, the business model is wrong. if the races are thousands of miles from the fans and the organisers are using cardboard cutouts to fill the grandstands, the business model is wrong. good riddance bernie

      1. I’ll second that

    1. +1
      If a new administration is interested in offering some 21st century ways of enjoying F1 coverage I’m all in favour! I’m so tired of the pay tv model, having lived in Australia and now NZ, where watching F1 requires purchasing and entire package that I’m mostly not interested in. The sooner PPV streaming options become available the better.

  7. Seismic news. Exactly where F1 will go after this is hard to judge. Ecclestone’s run the show my entire lifetime plus quite a bit more.

    1. Interesting times indeed.

    2. Having known no different it is understandable that gens xyz are worried, but as a boomer I can assure you that F1 from a fans point of view was alive and well before Mr. Ecclestone monetised it and creamed of 50% for himself.

    3. @keithcollantine

      I had you pegged as a boomer

    4. I don’t know if Mr Ecclestone was responsible for F1 moving from an excellent Free to Air TV program to a Pay TV provider’s exclusive product range more than a decade ago here where I live, but I believe he was the person responsible for media rights. The consequence of this is F1 long ago vanished off the public’s RADAR. He had plenty of time to make things right, but he never did.
      So I listened with interest to the sports news this morning on my way home from work to see what they said, but, and I guess this pretty much sums up how important he made F1 to New Zealand, his departure wasn’t even mentioned.

  8. #Ecclestgone

    Ding dong the fraud has gone… not quite the right words but it will do. Very overdue

  9. As the Rock says FINALLY!!!!!!
    Bernie did a lot of good and that can never be forgotten but he tarnished his own work with his actions last number of years. The decisions he had taken have been detrimental to F1 but positive to his and CVC’s pockets. Chase Carey and his team need time. Knee jerk reactions aren’t needed. He’s in a paddock full of sharks and he’s got to swim.

  10. About time. Definition of greed. Good riddance!

  11. Absolutely gutted knowing Bernie has been forced out. His style and character have become what Formula One is and has been for so long that if you stop and think of the drivers who have lived, died with little or massive success during their all were under Bernies wings. Youve done well Mr.Ecclestone and many of us who follow the sport have had you as the leader if the pack. The new guys will have to create some amazing tricks to accomplish what you have. Thanks

    1. I think it’s safe to say Bernie won’t be reading this ;)

  12. So now can we finally get to an equitable distribution of money to teams, a less extortionate price for circuit owners, less hideous circuits in dubious countries and to a better F1?
    I doubt it

  13. Part of me is sad because he did do plenty of good for the sport… but a larger part of me is happy, because his actions following the acquisition of the commercial rights have pushed F1 in a dangerous, unsustainable direction.

    Thanks Bernie, but this was overdue.

  14. I’ve followed F1 for thirteen years. I’m able to comprehend quite a few things. Yet I’ve never quite understood how Bernie got in this position of power and wealth at the cost of the teams. I mean, I know the history, I know the politics at play. But it still baffles me that the situation managed to play out in such a way that one man more than anybody else managed to profit so spectacularly. It feels almost kleptocratically unfair. Who can enlighten me as to exactly how this happened?

    1. @hahostolze, As “ANON” keeps reminding me I’m no expert, but basically Bernie said he would organise F1 FOR THE TEAMS, if they would sign contracts for x years to race as required, Bernie guaranteed the teams that their income would increase even after he took 50% as his salary. I’m sure the teams at the time accepted the 50% because of the risk involved in the reorganisation and Bernies guarantee that the teams would get at least their normal income before he took his off the top, and also the teams expected to be able to negotiate a greater share at the end of the contract if the business was doing well. Bernie got lucky with the introduction of live worldwide satellite TV coverage and the squeeze on tobacco advertising (but not sponsorship) and fought tooth and nail not to give the teams a bigger share of the income culminating in his sale (once his ex-business partner friend and FIA president Max Moseley sold him the commercial rights for 100yrs at 3million a year) to a media company for several billion .

  15. Better the devil you know, as they say.

    Thanks Bernie, you got us this far, lets hope Liberty don’t ruin the sport with their US views on how sport should be run.

    1. Yeah those American views…

      The NFL splits revenues evenly across 32 teams ($7.2Bn in 2014), Nascar was broadcast in HD 8 years before F1 and every American sport can be watched in full via online streaming services but yeah F1 costs $5m a year for a drive, $40m to struggle to run a team whilst bankrupting circuits without government backing.

    2. “…ruin the sport with their US views on how the sport should be run” is an interesting comment. Could you elaborate on which US views you are referring?

      My view from the USA? It looks like the Yanks are saving the day…again.

  16. I eager liberty heing good for the sport. What’s the alternative?: f1 being run to the ground and in the face of fan response. Why would this be done? To take out one of the world sports to ease the audience to NFL/NBA/NHL? One expensive way to sabotage.

    Don’t see anything but good with this takeover. 2 sprint races instead of 1 GP? 25 races? Faster cars? What about reverse tracks? All sound interesting to me.

  17. I am over the moon that Ecclestone is gone. This is the best thing that has happened to Formula 1 in a long time, and I’m not exaggerating that. I recognise that Ecclestone has done tremendous work building F1 into the global sport it is today, but his influence on F1 in the last decade or so has been nothing short of cancerous. He has transformed Formula 1 from a sport into a business, where the sponsors’ will always comes ahead of the spectators’. It doesn’t matter if people are enjoying Formula 1 or if they even consider it a sport, as long as the bigwigs drinking champagne in the paddock club are happy Formula 1 is in a good state.

    From what I’ve read, Liberty seems to recognise that for the long term, the spectators are irreplaceable whereas sponsors are. I won’t miss Ecclestone, not even a little bit.

  18. Peppermint-Lemon (@)
    23rd January 2017, 22:26

    An end of an era. For me, Martin Bundle’s tweet sums up my feelings perfectly. Bernie has ‘dropped the mic’ and now its up to the next era to begin. Just hope liberty will not send F1 into a slow death spiral. F1 is dead, long live F1!

  19. Finally. Whoever takes over his responsibilities, can only fail in the sense that he/she/they are commercially less successful than Don Bernie.
    In terms of moral integrity, the bar is now so low it should be impossible to be worse than that.
    Good riddance.

  20. Yay! I can finally stop saying I’ll believe it when I see it. Well, hopefully :P

  21. • Put F1 back on free-to-air TV.
    • Restructure the prize money so all teams benefit.
    • Allow the circuits to make a profit from hosting races.


    1. More accessible coverage would be nice. But in the US the opposite has been happening. I can’t even remember the last time I saw broadcast tv. Even Sesame Street premiers on HBO now.

  22. F1 is dying.

    1. Or it is dead.

      1. Its most likely the latter

        1. It’s just resting.

  23. The sport is what it is today because of him

    Damn, this new guy’s good. Hit the nail right on the head there!

  24. Today is THE day. Finally.

    1. Hallelujah.

  25. I for one am glad that Bernie has finally gone, his removal from power is long overdue … however, let us not forget that without Bernie we would not have F1 as we know it today. He has been at the helm of the sport for 40 years and I guess for 38 of those he did an amazing job with the exception of a few bum ideas (and we all have those from time to time), but for the last 2 years or so he has said and done some really strange things that have destroyed what should been a great legacy and I think because of that Bernie will be remembered more for his mistakes than his successes.

    1. More likely will be remembered for his greed. His insatiable greed.

      Also seems you had a typo…not the last 2 years…the last 20 years of Bernie’s rule set the stage for the gutting of the FIA and for vulture capitalists to suck billions out of F1 leaving nothing behind but debt and failed teams.

      Hope that Liberty Media can revive the F1 corpse before it’s buried in a historical footnote just above CART and CanAm.

    2. Good summary indeed.

      The thing that saddend me over the past few years was that Bernie didn’t really arrange a succession plan and has now had it forced on him.

      Hopefully he’ll exit gracefully and the sport will build positively on what was essentially a good base.

  26. Fingers crossed, looking for the Ferrari liberty battle if liberty are serious about reforms.

  27. I thought his time had come when he was pushing his “gold medals” idea in 2009. I just could not fathom the words I was hearing at the time, and ever since then he’s been a bit of a laughing stock for me. There’s a reason there are not a lot of 80 year old CEO’s.

  28. BrawnGP should return with a Honda Powered Engine

  29. maarten.f1 (@)
    24th January 2017, 6:25

    Well, now to see if it’s actually going to improve things and it’s not just another case of the grass being greener on the other side. I remember people were happy when Max Mosley retired, things haven’t exactly gotten better with Jean Todt.

    1. They couldn’t get any worse with Todt as Mosley had completely screwed F1 and the FIA, there was nothing left for Todt to destroy … mind you he ain’t exactly been a shinning light for improvement either.

  30. This has to be the best news in F1 for a long time.

    Bernie was losing his faculties yet because everyone in the paddock still feared him, he was allowed to continue dragging the sport down the pan.

    Check out his comments to other media on the BBC article – they don’t read anything like his official statement. He is bitter and confused.

    I have no expectation that the new owners will make the sport better – but at least they will take it in a new direction. F1 needed needs change to survive.

    I just hope the role of “chairman emeritus” DOESN’T come with a paddock pass… the man is poison and Liberty F1 would be minded to keep him well away.

    It’s just a shame that the new owners have been handed a sport that has taken ANOTHER technical wrong turn. We’ve got a season of zero overtaking ahead of us.

  31. What a tremendous set of circumstances and decisions. Liberty are picking up the sport and giving it a good shake, which is exactly what it needed.


    … give me F1 Racepass, like I pay for NFL Gamepass (which itself resells broadcast coverage of games) so I can stream in HD wherever I am watching.

    … distribute the cash fairly, no matter what Ferrari say about their importance

    … work with the race promoters and circuits, not against them, to get the festival flags flying for a race weekend again

    … blow open the grand prix experience for kids (don’t worry about us adults, we’re set in our ways) with driver, sponsor and team events

    … build a vision for the sport so there’s a plan (road relevant or not) teams and fans alike can get on a journey towards

  32. Taken together, today’s news are very strong statement that the Americans do indeed intend to make Formula 1 great again. Whatever good things Bernie may have done in the distant past, it has been some time since he has been a positive force, supposing he ever has. It is time for some rational people to be in charge. Whatever those choose to do with F1, I am confident that it will be better than the current direction, or lack thereof.

  33. F1 wouldn’t be where it is today without Bernie…and I mean that in a good and a bad way. I think he’s been a liability for the last 10 years and I’m glad the sport is moving on.

    On that subject, do we know what length contracts most of the teams have? Basically, how long could Liberty have their hands tied for until everyone has to either renegotiate their contracts or just sign up or go away!

  34. Hat´s off to Bernie, it takes 3 top guys to do the job he has been doing “alone” and he is 86 years old!

    I have faith in this new team, let´s see if the show improves.

  35. petebaldwin (@)
    24th January 2017, 9:47

    YYYYEEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Absolutely brilliant news!

    Hopefully someone with the slightest care for F1 or it’s fans may have a say in things now.

  36. Good riddance, Bernie. I won’t say I’m optimistic for what replaces him, but it can hardly be worse than his absolutely awful mismanagement of F1 over the last two decades or more.

  37. I am glad Bernie Ecclestone is no longer in charge of F1 but it is too early to say what the new leadership will be like.

    I was also glad when Max Mosley’s reign as FIA president ended but his successor, Jean Todt, has come in for plenty of criticism, I wouldn’t say he has done a great job but I still prefer him to Mosley.

    My general view of Ecclestone is sort of the same as a few I have read, he did a lot of good for F1 building up the sport, but I think that his actions in later years have damaged F1.

    If Ecclestone had never got involved with running F1 we have no way of knowing what the sport would be like now, I am sure there could be convincing arguments made on both sides whether the overall effect Ecclestone has had on F1 is good or bad.

    Sport and the world in general have greatly changed in the time that Ecclestone has been in charge of F1, so even without him F1 would still be very different to how it used to be.

    People may praise him for building F1 into a massive sport, but it is not as if he did it out of the kindness of his heart or for the good of the sport as a whole, it has made him a billionaire, and the way he has tried to squeeze as much money as possible from the sport in recent years has harmed the sport.

  38. 3 years flies!

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