Okay, if I am honest I am struggling to find any substantial evidence that these exact words tumbled from the former F1 supremo’s pursed lips, but I think we could read between the lines of Bernie Eccelstone’s loaded comment: “The bottom line is, we will have to see whether the new owners are right or not,” – his reply to Chase Carey’s (pseudo aggressive?) suggestion that the former dictator was perhaps a bit too plentiful with scornful glances in reaction to suggestions that were made that he felt of little interest or value. Carey has publicly suggested future ideas will be met with a warmer reception, and that that will improve the sport.
There is no doubt that there is a new sheriff in town, with a big smiley face and his relentlessly cheerful moustache that (perhaps) promises to twitch over the words “YES!” from one end of the pit late to the other. Is Bernie a fan of the jolly moustache school of management? It appears, that at best the Chairman Emeritus is skeptical of the new order of things.
Ecclestone is well known for favoring a totalitarian system over a democracy, in some ways he may of have a point. A small privy council of intelligent advice (when asked) facilitating a decision one way or the other may be healthier for the sport.
In interview with Brundle earlier this year Ecclestone said of being a dictator: “…out of 10 decisions I would make, 2 would turn out to be wrong, but if there is a committee then only 2 out of 10 will be right, and if F1 was to be run by a committee then it would be “unlikely there will a place for me”
The suggestions from the paddock are most likely to be team or driver centric, and not contributing to the moustache wax fund at all. Changes cost money, the teams will not want to contribute and the fans will not stand too much more burden, so Liberty might need to have some deep pockets…
I think Carey might need to exercise some caution in the coming 12 months with his liberality and ensure he does not build a reputation for it, or look at gaining new support for using it as a tool, because in the end he will have to start saying “no” and then he could be disappointing and offending many people.
I feel Ecclestone’s message is that if Carey is going to be accepting to suggestions it could become at his own cost. Bernie’s reputation of being hard on his line was never something he was afraid of, it was his trademark. There was a certain amount of respect that his opinions were trusted and people expected a “no”, and anything else was a bonus.
Whatever WE like, F1 is a business and business tends to do better under a strong leader than a liberal committee. Ecclestone has achieved great things and ultimately F1 respect across the sporting world.
There is a risk that if you market yourself as liberal, this could be met with a backlash of opinion when you don’t live up to your manifesto. I think it will all comes down to how accessible the new boss becomes amongst the F1 community.
The ratio of attention to the demands of the fans and the teams could be a tricky mix, and he may come under fire from both, not to mention being a drain on pockets of the other Liberty backers.
F1 is used to the Bernie regime, so he should guard himself against any backlash of a change, because that could define the length of time Liberty are involved in the sport.
My opinion is that Bernie’s advice has never been sought, or purposefully ignored and if it had, I imagine that the moustache wax would disappear along with all previous non-profitable suggestions into the billionaires big round filing cabinet under his desk.
By Steve Barby