Ecclestone fired!

And it is official, today the 23rd of January 2017, Bernie Ecclestone is no longer CEO of the Formula 1 circus. Allthough rumors have been circulating the last couple of weeks, for most this must still feel like a bomb.

As you may remember, we wrote a piece on Liberty Media acquiring >35% of the shares of Formula 1. This shifted the power balance, which resulted in today’s news that Bernie was pushed aside for Chase Carey.

We have not found an official statement from Liberty Media yet, but we expect this to be released on the short term. In interviews Ecclestone has already confirmed the move, and explained Chase Carey will be taking over. Ecclestone has been offered an honorary function, however it remains unclear what this new function will do.

An end to an era, as we at can only describe it. The 86 year old has been involved in F1 during all his life. After the 2nd world war, Ecclestone started driving Formula 3. Allthough not without succes he decided to concentrate on his business ventures and stopped racing. Gaining a good living, and having made some good investments, he returned to racing in 1957. He gradullay shifted from driving to managing: fist by having someone lese drive his cars, later by managing Lewis Evans. The latter died after injuries sustained at the 1958 Moroccan Grand Prix. This shocked the young Bernie into stopping with racing himself.

Later he returned managing, and co-owning a Formula 2 team with Jochen Rindt. After Rindt died (and being crowned champion of 1972 posthumously) Eccelstone continued by buying the Brabham team in 1972. In 1973 Ecclestone hired the legendary Gordon Murray, and started raking in wins over the 1974 and 1975 season.

Bigger succes came in the beginning of the 80-ies. Ecclestone had signed a young Nelson Piquet as driver, and BMW as the supplier of engines. Piquet won the 1981 and 1983 championship. 1985 marqued the end of the succesful cooperation between Ecclestone as team-owner, Murray as designer, and Piquet as driver. 1987 ended in a low, and BMW stopped supplying engines.


the golden trio Ecclestone, Murray, Piquet

In parallel to his activities as team-owner, Ecclestone has been involved as a Formula 1 executive since 1978, negotiating television rights (not that this completely voluntary on the part of the FIA: but you can read about the FISA-FOCA war later) In 1988 Ecclestone sold Brabham. Murray later commented that he felt Ecclestone lost his interest in owning a team during the 1987/88 season.

Ecclestone continued to negotiate deals on television right, which brought him in regulra conflict with FIA. He continued handling affairs for the team-owners though, which brought him to hammering out the significant 1997 Concorde Agreement.

Since 1999 Ecclestone started selling off shares in the company SLEC Holdings, but remainig in full control. In 2004 the other owners united as Speed Investments (Bayerische Landesbank, Morgan Chase, Lehmann Brothers, who together owned 75% of SLEC) wanted more control, and started a series of legal battles. In the meanwhile Ecclestone made a coup and got the teams behind him to sign a new Concorde Agreement. Speed Investments quickly backed away from further battles, and bought the remaining 25% from Ecclestone, forming a new company CVC. Ecclestone bought himself a share into the new company.

In 2012 former Bayerisch Landesbank chief Gerhard Gribowsky was charged with tax evasion, and Gribowski accused Ecclestone to have paid 44M USD in bribes. After some pushing and shoing, Ecclestone agreed to pay a 60M USD fine, to make the case go away in 2014.

Only 2 months to the 2017 Formula 1 season, Ecclestone must relinquish his, what we can only describe as controversial reign. After nearly 40 years, Ecclestone’s era comes to an end. The king is dead, long live the king?

Bernie as we will remember him..


15 responses to “Ecclestone fired!

  1. No surprise that an 86 year old who runs a company he doesn’t own would get the heave ho. The honorary President position is likely tacit admission that they still need Ecclestone around to explain the deals he made. I wouldn’t be surprised if Bernie got the last laugh and walked away leaving Liberty to figure it out on their own, which judging by Liberty’s recent pronouncements, leaves one wondering if they have any real idea what to do.

  2. Mixed feelings. I think that he over extended his domain and should have gone to pasture long time ago. He legitimized F1 and made it a world event. I do not like the lost of great European venues and the addition of China (lack of public), Turkey, Korea, India and others that are a failure. I hope Liberty continues with the good work the midget did but also corrects many of his mistake with the money distribution to the teams. I wish a long life to Bernie so he can continue enjoying his wealth.

  3. well. whatever You think, without Bernard Charles Ecclestone there would be no Formula1 today. Thank You Bernie

  4. ye bye. Thanks.
    I’m more curious than excited for whatever is ahead.

    PS: Some have said these are interesting times. Why? They are simply uncertain. They’ll only become interesting if F1 actually moves forward instead of sideways.

  5. I hope that there is a fairer distribution of the money amongst the teams.
    However, I am afraid Formula 1 will get tweaked and altered and changed completely which will lose its fan base.
    Maybe the tv companies should be acquiring the rights to all the other racing formulas, so when Formula 1 gets ruined we have something else to watch.

    • I agree. I think the intent is to try and turn it into a NASCAR type series with all the gimmicks, and ultimately it becomes a joke.

      • Youre not suggesting this will be the equivalent of WWE sponsored by Mario.

        When I say Mario, I mean the Nintendo mascot and all his pals – not Andretti…

        If Ferrari had any sense they’d start loking into proper racing like the WEC and give F1 the bird.

        • I think Liberty better not under estimate Marchionne. He’s going to do what is best for Ferrari and Fiat and that may not mean staying in F1. Marchionne knows he has F1’s crown jewel and if Liberty try and f**k him and Ferrari, I’m sure he’ll walk. And without Ferrari F1 is a shell of its former self. That’s why Ecclestone played ball with them.

          • The Chase is not exactly a thing that F1 fans would like but I for one would love the green–white–checker finish in F1. Track wet? Race is ending? Your rep is pushing Charlie to just keep that safety car until the end of the race? Well, not anymore, you’ll drive until you get 2 actual race laps or until your fuel runs out. I’d so love to see that, especially the retirements. Comparing NASCAR to F1 feels wrong on many levels but you can’t deny the fact that the races are exciting and action-packed, the two qualities that F1 sorely lacks 99% of the times.

    • Mike, what would think is fair? Ferrari/Mercedes/RedBull/Willams getting money for finishing races first/historic reasons?

      Tweaking: we have seen loads of twaeking the last couple of years. How many times was the qualification format changed?

      TV companies acquiring rights: Liberty Media is a TV company. So if they ruin F1, the others will not ruin their respective racing formulas? I don’t get it.

      Liberty is paying 8B USD. They don’t have room to ruin it. They might take less popular decisions, but they will tread carefully.

  6. Honorary positions for Bernie…

    Bonnet figure
    Crash test dummy
    Garden gnome
    Sausage kerb
    Axle stand
    Toilet brush
    11th place team trophy
    Hydrocarbon spill kit

    …. help me out here…

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