Ecclestone: “I do not believe that people could not come up with something to make more or less the old F1 noise.”
Bernie Ecclestone was appointed leader of the Formula One Constructors Association in the 1970’s. Ecclestone had recently sold his own team for $5 million, a team he purchased years earlier for $120,000.
A dispute arose over the TV rights in F1. That dispute lasted fro some ten years as two organizations fought for leadership of F1. In 1987, Bernie Ecclestone settled that on his own by moving the TV rights to a new company.
That new division later became known as Formula One Management. He turned around and offered a percentage of the TV deal to all the teams for $10,000, which many turned down. Teams could do a lot with $10,000 back then and at the time, TV was risky. Eventually, he settled on a percentage for all teams while keeping 23% for FOM (himself).
40 years later, Ecclestone is worth an estimated $3.2 billion. Recently, the former F1 executive was essentially pushed out by American owned Liberty Media who purchased a majority share of the racing sanction.
Yet, Ecclestone still has vision. The man who steered F1 for nearly 40 years still has ideas for the future of F1.
“We still own the name Formula One, we still have contracts with promoters, let’s make different types of cars, let’s speak to the manufacturers and start a new all-electric F1, a Formula One for the future,” Bernie Ecclestone told The Guardian.
“Can’t we do this?” he asked. “The manufacturers provide the cars themselves but we aren’t going to pay them because they get massive worldwide publicity. It would be a super Formula E, if you like.”
“You can make cars be like an F1 car and the only thing you would miss would be the noise and I do not believe that people could not come up with something to make more or less the old F1 noise. They [Liberty] would need to have the balls to do it today. I think they will have to do it.”
If that happens, it might work or it might not. But, one thing is almost a certainty, Ferrari would pull out of F1.
“F1 is Ferrari and Ferrari is F1,” said Ecclestone. “I would hate to see F1 without Ferrari.”
Marchionne has already made a few threats to pull out of F1 anyway. Those threats stem from talk about leveling the playing field via the rulebook.
“Sergio does not do things unless he is serious,” Ecclestone said. “I don’t think he is the sort of guy who doesn’t do what he says he’s going to do.”
In 1996, Bernie Ecclestone made $83.7 million as a FOPA executive. At the time, F1 was on the rise and Ecclestone became the highest paid executive in the world.
Related: Liberty Media purchases F1