- Title: Formula One shakeup as Bernie Ecclestone is replaced as commercial supremo
- Date: 23rd January 2017
- Summary: HEATHROW AIRPORT, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (1997) (REUTERS) EXTERIOR OF HILTON HOTEL WHERE MEETING TO DISCUSS FORMULA ONE FINANCES TOOK PLACE FERRARI TEAM BOSS JEAN TODT ARRIVING WILLIAMS FOUNDER FRANK WILLIAMS RON DENNIS MCLAREN TEAM BOSS ECCLESTONE LEAVES MEETING KYALAMI, SOUTH AFRICA (FILE) (REUTERS) JACQUES VILLENEUVE DRIVING WILLIAMS-RENAULT ON KYALAMI TRACK
- Embargoed: 6th February 2017 23:22
- Keywords: Bernie Ecclestone FIA
- Location: FILE
- City: FILE
- Country: USA
- Topics: Motor Racing,Sport
- Reuters ID: LVA00560AZ7SV
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: PART VIDEO IS 4:3 CONVERTED/PART MONOCHROME
Bernie Ecclestone's 40-year reign as Formula One's commercial supremo ended on Monday (January 23) 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.
"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."
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 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."
Ecclestone took the F1 circus to new destinations, such as Azerbaijan and Bahrain, that were prepared to pay handsomely to host a round of the championship even if they lacked the motorsport heritage of historic European circuits.
He has controlled every aspect of the paddock, however, and teams and fans have long chafed at the lack of a digital strategy and the focus on maximising profits rather than developing the sport.
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.
"My days in the office will be somewhat quieter. Maybe I'll come to a Grand Prix. I still have lots of friends in Formula One," Ecclestone had told Germany's Auto, Motor and Sport before the announcement.
"I have enough money to be able to afford to visit a race."
Ecclestone began as a driver, racing in Formula Junior at the end of the 1950s. He was also manager of driver Stuart Lewis-Evans but his influence grew when he bought the Brabham team in 1972.
Over the following years he used his position as a team owner to make Formula One more professional. Under his influence circuits were assured a decent number of teams would turn up to each grand prix with well turned-out machinery, provided they negotiated en bloc with Ecclestone. He formed FOCA, the Formula One Constructors Association to that end.
Clashes between Ecclestone and Jean Marie Balestre, president of the sport's governing body FIS, followed - the so-called FOCA-FISA wars, but peace terms allowed Ecclestone to take control of the television rights to Formula One, which financed the rapid expansion of the sport.
By 1993 the former lawyer Max Mosley had taken over control of motorsport's governing body, with former incumbent Balestre having lost both the presidency of FISA and then FIA, the international automobile federation. Under Mosley's presidency Ecclestone benefited even more from the commercial rights to Formula One with the proceeds divvied up among teams under an arcane system called the Concorde Agreement.
Mosley continued as FIA president until 2009. Ecclestone expanded the Formula One calendar. It went from 1980's 14 races to 2016's 21, taking in far-flung races on purpose-built circuits like Sochi, Abu Dhabi, Baku with Ecclestone negotiating with governments to bring the Formula One circus to their city to boost tourism.
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