Chase Carey says Bernie Ecclestone exit means Formula 1 can be run differently

By Dan Roan & Andrew BensonBBC sports editor & chief F1 writer
New F1 boss Chase Carey on big talking points

Bernie Ecclestone has been removed as Formula 1's boss because the sport "needs a fresh start", says new chairman Chase Carey.

Carey has been put in charge by Liberty Media, the US group which completed its $8bn (£6.4bn) takeover of the sport.

The American told BBC Sport he had "tremendous respect" for Ecclestone, but F1 "needs to be run differently than for the last four or five years".

"Bernie is a one-man team. It was not right in today's world," he said.

"The decision-making is not as effective as it needs to be. Clearly it has to be improved."

Ecclestone has been removed as chief executive but offered a new advisory role as chairman emeritus.

Carey said Liberty had major plans to grow F1 around the world. He said:

  • F1 is a "unique, iconic, global event that is a spectacle second to none"
  • The sport has not grown in recent years as much as it needed to and Liberty could exploit new technologies to do that
  • Liberty would protect historic races and sees Europe as the "foundation" of the sport
  • It would expand, particularly with a view to new events in the US
  • Liberty wanted to make much more of the promotion of F1 itself, its participants and individual events
  • There will be a British Grand Prix despite speculation Silverstone could be dropped by 2019
Ecclestone still has a lot to offer - Horner

Ecclestone's departure

Carey was installed in September and said he had decided over the past four months that Ecclestone, 86, was no longer the right person to run F1.

"We needed a sport that while respecting what made it great has a sense of energy and innovation," Carey said.

"In many ways, in a simplistic sense, the sport said 'no' too much and we have to start saying 'yes' - not gimmick it up but find ways to do new and exciting things to have the sport continue to grow and interest and excite people."

He said Ecclestone had not been happy about the change but had accepted his new role.

"I would expect this is difficult for Bernie," Carey said. "He has run this sport for his entire adult life and I respect completely that this is a difficult change.

"We have tried to deal with him with the respect he's due, which is why we offered him the chairman emeritus title.

"I have been sincere in saying I value his help and advice as we go forward.

"He calls himself a dictator. He has run it as a one-man dictator for a long time. I think the sport needs a fresh perspective. But he has a lot to continue to offer and he will always be part of the F1 family."

Liberty has brought in former Mercedes F1 team boss Ross Brawn and ex-ESPN sales executive Sean Bratches to run the sporting and commercial sides of F1 under him.

'One of the benefits is a fresh start'

Carey added the governance of F1 needed an overhaul.

"I don't know whether the decision-making is not what it should be because there is too much history amongst the players," he said.

"One of the benefits we bring is a fresh start. We don't have an agenda other than to make the sport great for its fans and that gives us an opportunity to look at how do we create more of a partnership - everybody has a shared vision of where do we want to go and we can align that vision and have everybody trying to move in the same direction."

'We must make the story everything it can be'

Carey said he felt F1 was not making the most of its appeal to fans around the world.

"Bernie deserves enormous credit for the sport he built," Carey said. "It just got sold for $8bn so the proof is in the numbers.

"But the reality is to be competitive in today's world you need to continue to find ways to connect and excite fans and we need to use all the digital platforms available, have a marketing capability to tell the stories of the rivalries of the stars.

"They are larger-than-life personalities and you have to take advantage of all the rules to make that story everything it can be, have to make events larger than ever, music and entertainment with sport at the centre of it.

"I have talked about 21 Super Bowls and that is really what we should have. And then work with our partners - teams, sponsors, promoters, regulator - to ensure the race itself is everything it can be."

Will the teams buy shares in F1?

Liberty is to give F1 teams the opportunity to buy equity in the sport. They have rejected an initial offer but talks are ongoing.

"We would like to be more aligned with the teams and those discussions are ongoing," Carey said.

"We initially made a proposal that had too short a timeframe and we have found a way to have discussion that can have an appropriate level of exchange.

"Out of discussions of equity will be discussions of where do we want the sport to be. There is a great deal of interest in the equity but first and foremost it is about trying to create more of an alignment with the teams about the future of the business."

He added Liberty would look at the prize-money structure, which many inside the sport believe is too skewed in favour of the leading teams.

"We'd like owning a team to be good business, running a track to be good business and F1 is a good business, and together we are all figuring out how to share in making the whole business stronger," Carey said. "But dealing with revenue is complicated."

'We want races to be more successful'

Many European races are struggling to cope with the high race fees Ecclestone demanded, but Carey said he hoped to find a way to make them more successful financially.

"I don't think we will make them more affordable," he said. "We will make them more successful. We want to be more of a partner. To be in the US we are not going to own tracks but we will be more of a partner in trying to figure it out.

"We think these events should be bigger and more profitable than they are and we think, properly run, these events should continue to grow and be even more successful."

'What drivers do is unique'

Carey said the leading drivers were "great personalities" and he wanted to "provide enough opportunities for fans to connect with those personalities".

And he added safety was "critical".

"Go and watch one of these cars drive down a track," he said. "Anyone who tells me that is not dangerous by definition and awe-inspiring hasn't been to one of these races.

"What they do is truly unique. We have a responsibility to make it as safe as we can without undermining the sport."

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