MANAMA, Bahrain, Apr 14 – Bernie Ecclestone on Friday made his first appearance in a Formula One paddock since the sport’s American take-over by Liberty Media and revealed he has yet to meet his successor as commercial supremo.
The 86-year-old Briton, who was given the title “chairman emeritus” following Liberty’s take-over, said he not yet met the company’s managing director for commercial affairs Sean Bratches.
Sporting a white shirt emblazoned with the F1 logo, as he always did, Ecclestone made time to speak to reporters and explained that he was still working at the offices of Formula One Management (FOM).
“I’ve never met Sean,” he said. “Ross Brawn has popped in to see me for 10-15 minutes, a week or so ago, and I have spoken to Chase (Carey, the sport’s new Chief Executive Officer)
“I spoke to him this morning and I have spoken to him two or three times. He has asked me about some things which I could help with -– which I did.
“If there’s any help they want, I’m there. He’s in a lucky position that I wasn’t in. I had to run the business to make money for the shareholders –- but they don’t seem to have that problem.”
Ecclestone explained that he did not venture in developing social media for the sport because he did not believe in it as a profit-making exercise.
“It’s like they bought Starbucks and everything’s done,” he said. “Even how much milk you put in the coffee.
“It’s a case of keeping what’s done and adding on top of it –- doing things that I didn’t do because it wasn’t earning money, like this social media.
“They’re going to spend a lot of money on that, which may be good, but it wasn’t good for the company.”
He added that he was taken by surprise when, after being asked if he could stay on for three years, he learned that Carey was taking over his job as CEO.
“It was because they had asked me to stay, but the way I look at it, they bought the car and they wanted to drive it.
“Nothing wrong with that — if they owned the company — and that’s what they wanted.”