Formula One gets new boss after Bernie Ecclestone replaced in Liberty takeover

Formula One to be headed by American Chase Carey after Bernie Ecclestone given Chairman Emeritus position by new owners Liberty Media.

other sports Updated: Jan 24, 2017 17:10 IST
Formula One,Chase Carey,Bernie Ecclestone
Bernie Ecclestone, 86, was chairman of Formula One for 40 years. He will no become Chairman Emeritus of the motorsports body. (AP)

Bernie Ecclestone’s 40-year reign as Formula One’s commercial supremo ended on Monday with the sport’s new owners Liberty Media replacing the 86-year-old Briton with American Chase Carey. Signalling the end of an era, Liberty said in a statement that it had completed the acquisition of Formula One and appointed Chairman Carey to the additional role of Chief Executive.

Ecclestone will become ‘Chairman Emeritus’, with Liberty saying he would remain “available as a source of advice for the board of F1”. Liberty also named two managing directors -- former Ferrari technical director and ex-Mercedes team boss Ross Brawn for motorsports and former ESPN executive Sean Bratches for commercial operations.

Both roles had been widely signalled in media reports.

Liberty, owned by U.S. cable TV mogul John Malone, has emphasised the importance of traditional European venues and wants to expand in the Americas.

“I’m proud of the business that I built over the last 40 years and all that I have achieved with Formula One,” Ecclestone said in the statement. “I am sure that Chase will execute his role in a way that will benefit the sport.”

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Bernie Ecclestone, here seen with wife Fabiana Flosi, had earlier claimed he was forced out. (Getty Images)

Ecclestone claims he was ‘forced out’

Earlier however, Ecclestone had said he had been “forced out”. He told Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport: “I was dismissed. This is official. I no longer run the company. My position has been taken by Chase Carey.”

Liberty Media president and CEO Greg Maffei said Carey, 62, would lead the business from now on and thanked Ecclestone for his “tremendous success” in transforming Formula One into a $1 billion business.

“There is an enormous opportunity to grow the sport, and we have every confidence that Chase, with his abilities and experience, is the right person to achieve this,” he said.

The takeover, valued at $8 billion including debt, has been broadly welcomed in a sport featuring famous car brands such as Ferrari, McLaren and world champions Mercedes and which has the Monaco Grand Prix as its jewel in the crown.

Carey sees huge potential

Carey has spent his time since September familiarising himself with the sport, and has made clear that fundamental changes need to be made to the business model. Formula One currently lacks a marketing department and has derived much of its revenue from television rights and race hosting fees, with Ecclestone making the deals.

“F1 has huge potential with multiple untapped opportunities,” said Carey.

“I have enjoyed hearing from the fans, teams, (the sport’s governing) 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.”

First Published: Jan 24, 2017 14:45 IST