One of the most interesting, frustrating, outspoken, brash, bombastic, and mercurial personalities in the history of motorsports is out of a job. Bernie Ecclestone has been deposed as the leader of F1 after 40 years on the job and after amassing a fortune of more than $2-billion by some accounts. Bernie’s shrewd dealings and decisions regarding the world’s premier racing series took it from a foundering organization in the 1970s and transformed it into a global powerhouse and massive cash machine by the time he was done.
Ecclestone was notified by conference call of his release. Liberty Media is the new owner of F1 and has been for a couple of months. They decided to break ties with Ecclestone and appoint Chase Carey as his successor.
Ecclestone was a study in singular power for many of those 40 years. He made the decisions that suited him and his vision, forcing everyone involved in the sport to either go along or quit. By and large, they went along. He was certainly loyal to his friends. Guys like Max Mosley for instance. Mosley was photographed with prostitutes reenacting some pretty weird scenes and instead of doing the typical thing and throwing him out by his ear, Ecclestone stuck with Mosley and never once apologized for it.
He’s an 86-year old guy with a 37-year old wife. He’s hung out, leaned on, and in at least a couple of cases influenced the decisions of heads of state who wanted their countries to be part of the F1 tour.
A polarizing but undeniably successful figure, Bernie Ecclestone was racing’s last great maverick. With his departure from the series, it will be incredibly interesting to see what the future holds for F1.