Ecclestone finds an ally in Bob Fernley

“We stand on the threshold of a new beginning. In order to ensure our security and continuing stability, the Republic will be reorganized into the first Galactic Empire, for a safe and secure society, which I assure you will last for ten thousand years. An Empire that will continue to be ruled by this august body and a sovereign ruler chosen for life.”


Having led the revolt for the republic against Emperor Ecclestone, almost pulling off a three team race boycott at the 2014 US Grand Prix, Bob Fernley appears to have been turned. To mix Sci-fy metaphors – he has been assimilated by the ‘Borg’.

(Whilst the Borg analogy is most attractive, for the purposes of continuity, we will assign Bob Fernley to the Star Wars character, Lando Calrissian)

On his first trip up to ruling council (F1 strategy group), Lando turned on one of his fellow F1 strugglers and his latest comments may give an indication as to why this happened.

In the interview Darth Vader (Ecclestone) gave to Jar Jar Binks (Eddie Jordan) in Bahrain, he was blunt when the daft Irishman enquired as to whether he wanted Manor in F1 – A gruff, “No,” was his dismissive response.

Of course Ecclestone is haunted by the sight of Manor F1 investor Justin King, who at various times has been tipped to replace the F1 warlord.

The plot thickens…

Ecclestone has been banging the drum over the new F1 engines for what seems an eternity, and as TJ13 observed two weeks ago, this is déjà vu for those who were around in 2006.

Bernie just does not like them Hybrids. The problem is that at his age without his hearing aid turned up to ‘MAX’ he just can’t hear the V6 Turbo power units. Imagine a world where a car travelling at 300 kph creeps up on you. The prospect is terrifying.

Yet the Ecclestone rhetoric has changed recently. Having lost certain old allies who spoke out against the silence of the new F1 power train, it seems for Vader – Green is the new black.

The argument Bernie is now deploying for engine change is based on cost. The new hybrid systems are too expensive and Vader believes there should now be a two tier engine Formula One.

Max Rebo (aka Adam Cooper) reports that Lando Calrissian is now being deployed as the voice of reason for Vader’s new proposal.

“What Bernie is looking at is that the independent teams will be offered a ‘parity’ engine, possibly a V8 with KERS, at a half of the price at least of what we are paying today. If say Cosworth brought in a V8 with a KERS system it would be a very, very good unit. The advantage to that is we’ve got an independent supplier, and there’s nothing wrong with that for the health of F1”.

However, Hans Solo (Toto Wolff) who has taking the brunt of Ecclestone’s not so lightning witted sabre – having been accused of “killing F1” – is having none of it. He maintains all four of the current F1 warp drive providers are happy with the new hybrid power units. So apart from tweaks to fuel flow for 2017, that appears to be that.

For those who believe in truth, justice and the Galactic New Republican ‘way’ it seems Fernley has been lost to the dark side.

“At the end of the day the teams cannot survive on the current cost base. So I think Bernie’s initiative has got tremendous merit”.

Vader’s powers though are on the wane, and a return to the nuclear powered intergalactic power units of the twenty second century – is just something he is going to fail to make happen.

But for now – The Empire strikes back.

(Mmm. Maybe the Star Trek metaphor would have worked better with hindsight…. Fernley would be cast well as ‘Valeris’ methinks)

18 responses to “Ecclestone finds an ally in Bob Fernley

  1. If he wasn’t so small I think a better epithet for His Bernship would be Jabba the Hutt, the intergalactic pirate. But size wise, the little critter that hangs round Jabba would be better, leaving Jabba for CVC.

    • In your analogy of Bernie being Jabba; surely the little critter that hangs off him would be Christian Sylt.

  2. That is the greatest peice of literature I have ever read; and before any thinks I am exaggerating, please be aware that I have never, ever, ever – not even once – exaggerated.

    *applaudes article*

    Bravo, bravo.

  3. if we are assigned Sci-Fy names to Bob the Fanciful my vote has to be for Carter J Burke from Aliens -a bit harsh? maybe? profitable – certainly. CVC (aka Weyland-Yutani) would be proud.

  4. Yes, clearly a deal was done to get money early for FI in return for supporting Ecclestone. And it’s clearly in their interest to be able to get engines for $5M instead of $20M. That said, wouldn’t object to a WEC style of opening regs for different engines, subject to 100 litre fuel limit.

      • Yes, without fuel limit you don’t have innovation so why not just call it GP1 and be done with it, which is of course what Bernie wants

      • The V8’s while masterpieces of automotive engineering have had their day.
        As for Bernie’s latest wheeze ? It’ll get as far as his sprinklers idea for livening up the races. Mostly because of the amount of money Mercedes, Renault, Ferrari and Honda have invested into the hybrid systems. All you’d possibly end up with is a formula supplied by Ferrari and Cosworth (If Red Bull don’t snap them up first). That would really kill F1. I could be wrong but it appears that Bernie is running out of pieces to move around the chess board and is desperately trying to avoid checkmate. If age doesn’t get him, CVC shareholders will once the profits from F1 take a nose dive.

        • “CVC shareholders will once the profits from F1 take a nose dive.”

          That’s bound to happen—the profits nose-diving—when CVC as owners entrust the running of the business to Bernard as manager with the mandate to squeeze in the short-term the long-term value of the sport.

          It shall be funny if the resell value of the business nose-dives, and CVC makes an overall loss on their investment… With the loss of historic landmarks (Nurburgring, soon Monza, Spa is threatened I hear), and no serious new entrants, a simultaneous loss of profits *and* of business valuation is bound to happen sooner than later.

          • CVC have made bank on F1 and they are in no danger of running out of profit as long as they can refi their original loan. Twice they have done this to the tune of several billion dollars, solely in order to pay dividends to shareholders (including themselves). As long as the sports credit ratings hold up they will continue to employ this strategy till they either go public and foist the expense on new shareholders, or find someone crazy enough to pay what they are asking. All they need is for the revenue stream to cover their minimum payment and they can continue their looting unopposed.

  5. So in someways Bernie is proposing something similar with what we see in MotoGP. CRT open class vs factory teams.

  6. haunted by the sight of Manor F1 investor Justin King

    Hey, has anyone noticed the Manors are Red and white this year… the colours of the rebel alliance in SW? There we go! It’s awn!

  7. Personally, being oldish, I liked the engines of last year to this year’s. Last year, I could watch the race and hear the commentators. This year, it’s hard for me to understand them with the engine noise background (as it was in 2013 and before). This may be because NBCSN has pumped up the trackside sound–I don’t know.

  8. Wonderful post TJ13! I’ve always thought of Niki Lauda or Adrian Newey as Yoda and Paddy Lowe as Harry Potter. My cousin Toto has Hans Solo…I like it. Seriously though, doesn’t Bob Fernley realize that Bernie can’t help him if the team owners can’t pay the bills?

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