The Formula 1 ‘Dictatorship’ Is At An End As Ecclestone Goes
For the past 40 years, Formula One and 86-year-old Bernie Ecclestone have gone hand-in-hand through thick and thin.
Having taken over in the mid-1970s, Ecclestone has done a sterling job in taking it from a barely organised series of dangerous speedsters to one of the most diverse and exciting sports on the planet, while maintaining safety and security for some of the world’s best drivers, though that is open to argument.
But now, after referring to his ruling of the sport as a dictatorship, that said ‘dictatorship’ is now at an end.
Liberty Media has finalised its $8bn (£6.4bn) takeover of the fastest show on Earth and Ecclestone has been removed from his position as chief executive, to be replaced by Chase Carey, who was already the sport’s executive chairman.
Ecclestone will stay on as a ‘chairman emeritus’, but he told Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport he doesn’t know what that even means. Neither do we, to be honest. He seems pretty miffed too, poor guy.
So, as his controversial reign comes to an end, we thought we’d look through some of the former impresario’s most notorious quotes and see why he was such a polarising character.
About speaking to journalists
‘I can’t remember when I’ve ever been kind to a journalist.’
Does he care about his legacy?
‘I just hope that my reputation is of someone who is straightforward, honest and straight down the line, which is different to somebody who is going to screw people – because I haven’t done that. My reputation is worth more to me than money. I’d like to be remembered as the “handshake guy”, the one who did it all on a handshake.’
Take away the British Grand Prix? Don’t be absurd!
‘If I did take away Silverstone and a British Grand Prix I’d be seen as a bad guy, but that wouldn’t bother me.’
So, his reputation as a money-grabber holds up…
‘Come off it – my organisation starts after the race, when I collect the money bag!’
And then we get on to the subject of women in Formula 1. Yeah…
‘You know, I’ve got one of those wonderful ideas… Women should be dressed in white like all the other domestic appliances.’
But even when Susie Wolff arrived on the F1 scene Ecclestone still wasn’t satisfied – and she was pretty much all in white
‘What I would really like to see happen is to find the right girl, perhaps a black girl with super looks, preferably Jewish or Muslim, who speaks Spanish.’
Ecclestone on the phenomenon of social media
‘I think the change that is currently taking place is very short-lived, as these social media people are starting to think it is not as good as they thought.’
Turning Ayrton Senna’s death into good news? Really?
‘The publicity generated by his death was so much… It was good for F1.’
And finally, his opinion on another famous dictator. Yeah, that one…
‘In a lot of ways, terrible to say this I suppose, but apart from the fact that Hitler got taken away and persuaded to do things that I have no idea whether he wanted to do or not, he was in the way that he could command a lot of people, able to get things done.’
Hmmm, not very tactful, Bernie…
But whatever he said and did, Ecclestone certainly changed Formula 1 forever and we can only thank him for that. Enjoy your enforced retirement, Bernie – you’ve earned it. Or will you appear again? After all, you do have previous…
Pictures: PA Images
Want to keep up on our latest news?
Subscribe to our email updates now - we promise they're worth it.