Ecclestone to step down as F1’s chief within days

An article over at Sky Sports F1 says that current Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone is set to step down in a matter of weeks from his 40+year reign as the sport’s impresario. The report says that Liberty Media’s takeover of the majority position in F1 will focus on taking its new acquisition into a new era that could start with offering investment opportunities to the teams.

“Sky News has learnt that Liberty Media Group‎ is preparing a compromise with F1’s constructors by altering some of the details of a scheme to sell them a stake in its parent company.”

Certainly there will be changes and as we’ve speculated, the new control of F1 will most likely be a team of executives overseeing different facets of the sport. As the article continues, it suggests that Sean Bratches, a former ESPN executive, could be in line as the commercial director for F1 while Ross Brawn may be in charge of the sporting side of the business. This is an interesting post as the FIA is currently in charge of the sporting and technical side of F1.

The thought of teams buying in to the sport prompted one interesting quote that article mentions.

“We are a Formula One team, not an investment company,” one executive said.

There are also existing contracts to be concerned with such as Ferrari’s board position at Delta Topco and its heritage payment that will be very touchy moving forward.

The article closes with a comment ascribed to Liberty Media:

“F1’s new shareholders are said to have been surprised at the comparatively undeveloped approach to exploiting its commercial rights compared to other global sports franchises.”

In some ways that’s understandable as it was really one man and few employees making it all happen but in fairness to Mr. Ecclestone, the new owners may be surprised at the lack of exploitation but I would just suggest that the teams weren’t willing to take on the role and Mr. Ecclestone took the personal risk, grew that sport into a global operation and sold it three times including to Liberty for billions so I think he’s done a pretty good job of exploiting the sport’s brand and value if you ask me.

Hat Tip: Sky Sports F1