Is this the end of the road for Bernie Ecclestone?
So Liberty Media have finalised their take-over of Formula One. This news has been accompanied by some strong rumours that the departure of Bernie Ecclestone is imminent. At least in his current role as chief executive.
While this is, for now, only a rumour, I have to say it seems a fairly assured outcome looking at the numerous stories that have been running over the last weeks and indeed months.
I believe this could be a very positive decision for the future of Formula One. While there is no denying the incredible legacy that Mr Ecclestone has created, the sport is in desperate need of a shake-up. Discontent is rife among the F1 community, competitors and fans alike.
F1 is still the pinnacle of motorsport. But there have been occasions, more so recently, where the sport has been a detriment to itself. Too many times lately have the headlines been shining a light on F1’s defficiencies. Mindless rule changes, made without necessary thought, have been a particular hindrance in recent times.
F1 needs to progress
Mr Ecclestone’s mantra has long been: “any publicity is good publicity”, and to a point, I agree with him. However, when Manor are in the headlines for the second year running after falling into administration, questions need to be asked about whether that is healthy, and if there was anything that could have been done to avoid such a situation. Something has to be done.
The problem is, the sport has been allowed to sink into this situation where intelligent decisions cannot be made. The process is convoluted, and riddled with conflicts of interest. The removal of Mr Ecclestone will be the beginning of a long process to tidy up the sport’s governance.
One of the names touted for a position within the new operating structure is Ross Brawn. A man who has done everything during his time as an engineer, team principle and team owner, his is a CV worthy of such a role. I have no doubts that Formula One would benefit hugely from his input. A calm, pragmatic and deeply experienced mind will be required if the sport is to progress.
It would be hard to see the current situation continuing under the watch of someone like Brawn. He has a genuine love for the sporting element of Formula One. I think his appointment would be absolutely huge for fans of the sport.
A brighter future
There is of course the worry that Mr Ecclestone knows the landscape of Formula One better than anybody ever could. His expertise has single handedly built this empire that spans the globe. There is no-one else who could have achieved what he has, and it will be almost unreasonable to expect the same kind of outcomes from whoever takes the reigns. Losing that kind of expertise is a risk, but one that I believe will be rewarded.
I Absolutely believe that Liberty Media, and the people involved in this take over, will be exactly what the sport needs. If the initial proclamations from Chase Carey are anything to read into, Formula One will be able to evolve into something even bigger. There is certainly going to be some exciting news coming throughout the year.