By on September 7, 2016

Bernie Ecclestone (Ryan Bayona/Flickr)

Longtime Formula One chief executive Bernie Ecclestone will remain involved with his beloved sport, even after an imminent takeover by a U.S.-based media company.

Ecclestone, head of Formula One for the past four decades, says he’s been asked to stay on for three years after the takeover, Reuters reports.

Liberty Media would acquire the rights to Formula One if a planned deal with CVC Capital Partners, which owns a controlling stake in F1, goes through. The deal is reportedly worth $8.5 billion.

The media company owns several telecommunications, entertainment and media properties, and is owned by John Malone — known by many as “Darth Vader” for his unique business style.

“They want me to be here for three years,” Ecclestone, 85, told Reuters. When asked about the deal’s timeline, Ecclestone said, “Honestly, I don’t think anybody knows.”

The deal could be finalized (and a new chairman added) at a Formula One board meeting scheduled for September 13. Who will head the board remains a mystery, but Ecclestone believes it might be Chase Carey, executive vice-chairman of 21st Century Fox and a director of Sky News owner Sky Plc.

Ecclestone says the sport would benefit from Carey’s media savvy. What exact role Ecclestone would take on isn’t known.

The Guardian reports that Liberty Media might buy a 20 percent stake in Formula One at first, before taking full control later this year. The sport has an annual turnover of $1.9 billion, making it an attractive buy for a profit-seeking company. Two Liberty Media-owned companies reportedly attempted to buy F1 in 2014.

[Image: Ryan Bayona/Flickr]

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19 Comments on “Bernie Ecclestone to Stay on as Formula One Boss after Takeover: Report...”

  • avatar

    Yes, keep the person on who’s been overseeing the irrelevance of F1. Excelsior!

  • avatar

    Can someone summarize why people dislike this guy so much? I’m not into F1 so I don’t really get it. First time I saw him was on Top Gear when he drove around the Monaco GP circuit with Clarkson in a Citroen DS3 RS (or whatever trim).

    • 0 avatar

      There are two correct answers:

      1) He’s responsible for F1 turning into a morass of impossible-to-understand rules that create $3M cars and distract from the driving. He also markets the series only to “old guys with cash,” in his own words.

      2) He’s an asshat personally, with a heaping helping of misogynistic and bigoted statements in his history.

      • 0 avatar

        Thanks, that helps.

      • 0 avatar

        He also has no concept of modern social media and how to use it to promote F1

      • 0 avatar

        He is not really responsible for the rule changes, that’s the FIA and the teams.

        Over half of the current F1 tracks and all the new ones were designed by Hermann Tilke, not sure if Bernie pushes that.Apart from Turkey (now defunct) the races have become boring.

        Bernie is responsible for selling the races to the highest bidder and thus putting many of the traditional tracks and even some of the more recent venues (like Austin) in a precarious position.

      • 0 avatar

        His only major sins are eliminating classic races in exchange for huge sums of money from other countries that are willing to pay up. He has also made Hermann Tilke the only designer for modern courses. The FIA and the teams are responsible for the stupid rules of today.

        • 0 avatar

          I’m with MBella on this. The FIA and some of the participants are behind the ridiculous and boring current regulations. Even former drivers play a role in misadministering the rules on race weekends. Bernie is responsible for the TV coverage being inferior to what it was 22 years ago, the races being in backwards cesspools like Turkey and Austin, and the barriers that keep more teams from competing. Its hard to say he has done as much harm as the FIA’s tire ideas, contrived racing gimmicks like DRS, or the latest efforts to harness cultivated idiocy surrounding CO2 to tie the sport to flatulent and absurd drivetrains.

      • 0 avatar

        I doubt you could even buy the engine alone for $3 million. The specification of the current hybrid powertrains is a couple years old now, but they claimed they were $20 million a piece the first year they replaced the relatively simple naturally-aspirated V8s.

    • 0 avatar

      Effectively, he is Lee Iacocca at Chrysler. Meaning: he was extremely valuable to the organization at one point in its’ history (in this case, roughly the ’70s through the ’90s), but has significantly overstayed his welcome, and is in the process of running said organization right back into the ground with short-signed decisions designed to line his already bulging pockets to the exclusion of any other goal.

  • avatar

    I wonder what he’ll do when he reaches retirement age…

  • avatar

    This just in…

    He buys his way out of jail time.

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