Big 5 foot 3 energy from the old Formula 1 boss — that’s 160cm to you non-Americans.
While talking to Bloomberg, ex-F1 boss, Bernie Ecclestone, made it clear that the current version of Formula 1 isn’t how he “ran things”.
“They are producing Formula 1: American Style. It may well be that it’s good, because so many stupid things come out of America and everyone’s happy, but it wasn’t the way I ran things.”
This is all a bit comical coming from the guy that once said he was “very pleased that the business has been acquired by Liberty and that it intends to invest in the future of F1.”
Any reader of this blog, or my Twitter account, knows that America has become a growing platform for Formula 1 over recent years. Specifically with the media blitz into the America’s along with the F1 Netflix series ‘Drive to Survive’ being a massive hit — especially in North America.
Not only is the growth happening online, but it’s growing so much that the United States will now have three races starting in 2023 — Austin, Miami and the brand new F1-led Las Vegas Grand Prix.
Greg Maffei, CEO of Liberty Media, gave response to Bernie’s comments, saying he can “think what he wants”.
Bernie can think what he wants. But the reality is everyone wants to be there nowGreg Maffei, CEO Liberty Media
Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff, who had been a supporter of Ecclestone in the past, sees the change being a good thing.
“Bernie was good in his time, he invented our sport, but technologies have changed,” concluded Wolff.
How Bernie Left F1
Liberty Media took over Formula 1 in 2017 and wanted to strengthen the weaknesses left by Ecclestone, in particular, exploiting digital media, an area with which Ecclestone refused to engage.
It also wanted (and wants to actively) to grow the sport in the USA, where F1 had long struggled to gain a foothold and promote it much more extensively. There was even talk of creating “20 Super Bowls”, in terms of making much more of the build-up to each race.
In years leading up to the sale, Ecclestone’s demands for ever-higher fees from race tracks led to several European races struggling to make ends meet. His decision-making was also questioned, particularly over issues such as the introduction of double points for the final race of the 2014 season, and the quickly abandoned change of the qualifying format in 2016.
A prize-money structure he created in the early years of last decade is believed by many insiders to be unfairly skewed in favor of the bigger and richer teams, and the governance system he set up at the same time had led to a log-jam when it comes to decision-making.
Equally, his public statements were nothing short of horrible, such as praising Adolf Hitler for “being able to get things done” and calling women “domestic appliances”.
Miami GP Overcomes Hiccups
While it wasn’t the most exciting race, quite frankly pretty boring, a few minor track changes can help that for next year. It’s a first year race, they’ll adapt and overcome.
The numbers were solid as well. The Miami Grand Prix was the second most viewed race in the United States history — most ever live. It put up a formidable fight against a NASCAR race on the same day. And in-person, there were over 242,000 over the weekend. By last years standards, that would put it in the top 5 in race attendance.