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Bernie Ecclestone

Liberty Media making F1 TV broadcasters ‘unsettled’ – Bernie

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Bernie Ecclestone has questioned his successor’s apparent ‘all change’ approach to running F1.

With the Liberty Media takeover, long-time F1 supremo Ecclestone, 86, was replaced as chief executive by Chase Carey and two deputies.

On the fact that three men are now doing the former work of one, Ecclestone told Blick newspaper: “That is almost a compliment. But it’s now a completely different way of thinking and working.”

For one thing, chief Carey has not been shy to criticise Ecclestone’s formerly dictatorial style.

“I have to live with that (criticism),” Ecclestone said.

“Maybe I should have changed more things,” he added, “as the Americans seem to now be about changing everything.

“For me it was always clear: I wanted to run Formula One Management so that it makes a profit for the shareholders. And in the end, the shares were so high that this was the reason it was purchased by the Liberty group.”

When asked what his relationship with Carey is like today, Ecclestone answered: “Well, he doesn’t need me. He says he knows what he is doing.

“And he has surrounded himself with people who also claim to know what they are doing,” he added.

Recently, Ecclestone criticised the new regime’s focus on social media, and now he says all that free content is upsetting the TV broadcasters.

“A lot of the TV stations are unsettled and annoyed,” he claimed.

Asked if that’s a problem, Ecclestone said: “Yes. We have contracts with these stations which are very exclusive.

“But right now it looks like you can get formula one without paying anything.”

Ecclestone was also always opposed to working with Ross Brawn, who is now Carey’s sporting deputy.

The Briton said: “Ross never had an insight into our business. He worked as an engineer with Flavio Briatore at Benetton. Then he went to Ferrari, and I don’t want to talk about how he later ran his team.

“But he does not have the big picture of politics and commercial processes,” Ecclestone insisted.

However, he also says Brawn is “not an idiot”, and agrees that F1 is still able to thrive and succeed in the new era.

“And I will be the first to congratulate those responsible,” said Ecclestone. “But it is not there yet.”

When asked what advice he would give Carey, Brawn and co, he answered: “Why should I recommend anything to these gentlemen? They have different views, as I said before.”

But Ecclestone said he always argued against the unpopular ‘power unit’ engines, and said the faster cars of 2017 were his idea.

When told that the races in 2017 have been exciting so far, Ecclestone said: “Right, but that had nothing to do with the new leadership.

“Two years ago I decided to go for a new regulation. With wider tyres and wider cars. This has changed the situation for the better.”

Finally, Ecclestone said he still goes to work every day. “I go to my office very early, and often leave very late. I keep my rhythm.”

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