Forget Jammeh, Meet Ecclestone Formula 1 Supremo for 40 years


A sport dynasty came tumbling down on Monday as Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone announced that he was stepping down after 40 years at the helm.

Ecclestone has been involved in the racing sport in some form since the 1950s, starting with a brief driving career then managing drivers but it was in cornering the TV rights sector that he really began his march to absolute power.

A ruthlessly astute business man, he eventually acquired the rights to the sport and went on to sell it, which accounts for most of his personal wealth estimated to be in the region of $2.9 billion.

Those rights -after a number of re-sales that saw Ecclestone charged for corruption in 2014-have now been acquired by Liberty media for $8 billion and with the new owners looking to go in a new direction, he has been forced to step down.

What new direction?

There is a belief that as is the sport is skewed towards a few big teams especially in terms of prize money making it difficult for smaller teams to stay afloat and competitive.

With television audience figures dropping and some of the longest-standing races struggling to fund themselves, also an acceptance that perhaps the sport has lost some of its edge and appeal.

Although Ecclestone has brought the sport a long way as evidenced by its sale value, the new owners believe that they could take it to the next level.

How does this affect you, Nigeria or in fact Africa?

Not very much. Wait, maybe if the tracks became a bit more competitive with drivers pushing each other you could learn more skills to help you keep chancing ‘danfo’ drivers and ‘okada’ riders.

More seriously, perhaps the Liberty Media will see their way to reinstating the South African GP, currently Africa is the only inhabited continent without a race.

What’s Liberty Media’s big plan?

Well the new owners have not revealed anything concrete but initial soundbites from the new CEO Chase Carey indicate an intent to mind into the digital space an area Ecclestone had ignored.

They will also try to secure the future of some venues, but the big one is attempting to create an atmosphere of “20 Super Bowls” around the Formula season.

Very ambitious to say the least, we wish them luck.

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