Ecclestone out, Liberty Media in. What could this mean for F1?
With Bernie gone, Formula One can begin to forge a new future. I am currently feeling a kind of Brexit style worry as we enter this period of unknown, but I think this can only be a positive step for F1. Change has been required for a while now, and the Liberty Media group seem to be a perfect fit.
New CEO Chase Carey now faces an extraordinary challenge. First of all he needs to very quickly get himself up to speed and continue the work that Ecclestone has done so successfully. Secondly, and most importantly, he needs to build upon his own vision for what the sport needs to become.
The huge positive coming from this situation is that we finally have a unified leadership for Formula One. For 10 years, Bernie Ecclestone has worked separately from owners CVC. This has caused problems for the sport on more than one occasion. Now we have Liberty Media taking total control of the sport, maybe some real change can be made.
Time to make some changes
I think the majority of Formula One’s problems stem from the ridiculous decision making structure currently in effect. While there is little that can be done about the convoluted steps that include the F1 commission and World Council, Formula One’s strategy group could definitely be improved.
The current format is nothing more than a farcical situation which ensures no meaningful decisions are ever made. The very idea of including competitors in the decision making process is ludicrous. The only agenda ever put forward by a team representative is personal gain. And of course it is, they are competing to win. It is not conducive to a healthy sport, however. Whether something can be done to rectify this fundamental problem remains to be seen.
Something that Carey will definitely have control over is the organisation of finances. For too long has the prize money situation been a complete joke. I get the argument that mediocrity should not be awarded, but teams like Sauber and Manor are being forced to suffer unnecessarily. The money is there to at least keep them afloat. I am by no means calling for charity, but the sport must do more to aid it’s teams. Surely it is best to flourish with competition right the way to through the field.
A show for the fans
Liberty Media are a television business. At first glance, they are exactly what Formula One needs. They have all the tools and all the expertise to produce the kind of coverage that fans have been desperate for. I wonder how much listening they are going to be doing over the next year.
There is a chance that Formula One could become a really desirable product. Under Bernie Ecclestone, the sport has done very little in terms of engaging it’s audience. The doors have been tightly shut, guarded by a high wall of corporate restrictions. Under new leadership it is likely that we may start to see those gates opening up to fans.
The new owners will definitely be able to add to the show. I am excited to see what ideas they bring to the table. They surely understand how important the fan base is to this sport. I imagine there will be measures put in motion to both enthuse and increase that fan base to it’s maximum potential.
A good thing for Formula One
These are exciting times for F1 fans. A new, fresh approach to the sport will invigorate teams, driver and promoters to boost every part of the greatest Championship in the world. The grey future that I had been envisaging at the start of last year has been replaced with very exciting prospects. I will be keeping a sharp eye on the events following this historic moment.