Bernie Ecclestone backs Marchionne's F1 quit threat

  • 22 Mar 2018 12:00
  • comments 14
  • By: Rob Veenstra

Bernie Ecclestone says he is supportive of Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne's F1 quit threat. Ecclestone, 87, was ousted as the sport's long time 'supremo' following the arrival of new owners Liberty Media. So now with Marchionne at loggerheads with Liberty and Ferrari threatening to quit, Ecclestone met with the Italian-Canadian at the recent Geneva motor show.

La Gazzetta dello Sport quoted Ecclestone as saying: "It's easy to imagine the things we spoke about because, as ever with Sergio, there was a total convergence." Marchionne told the press he had met with a "very fit Ecclestone". When asked about Liberty's plans for the future of F1, Ecclestone said: "I too dream of a world championship with 20 teams and 20 different engines. But that's utopia. Perhaps Liberty Media are thinking of doing things that I cannot imagine."

Ecclestone said Liberty should not try to find out if Marchionne's quit threat is real. "Marchionne is someone who, when he says something, he does it and does not look back. Liberty should therefore be careful about what they do. I've been close to Ferrari since the days of Enzo. F1 - or my F1 - was a company that distributed large dividends to its shareholders. Of course, there were always quarrels and discussions, but in the end we always came out best," said the Briton. "Marchionne knows my position," he said. "Sergio knows what whatever he wants to do I will be there. We have discussed many things."

When asked about Liberty's flagging financial accounts, Ecclestone said: "Many of the existing contracts were made by me and passed to them. At that time, the money was there." And much of that money was given to Ferrari as bonuses, which Liberty would now like to take away. "It's not a bonus," Ecclestone insisted. "It was a prize for participation -- because Ferrari has always been there. I never gave anything away -- when I gave something there was always a reason."

He would not say much that was flattering about Liberty, including the decision to ban 'grid girls'. "I no longer have direct involvement so I just see what others see. Things that seem incomprehensible. The grid girls (ban) did not seem like a brilliant idea," he said.

Asked if there is anything positive, Ecclestone answered: "I have not seen much. I see that they are throwing a lot of money away. My FOM was always less than 30 people. A small but efficient structure." Liberty, on the other hand, has a staff of 150 and growing. "They're probably not necessary," said Ecclestone. "Unless they can produce 3-4 times what I produced in a short amount of time." (GMM)

Replies (14)

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  • Major Tom

    Posts: 148

    There was a time when Bernie was the savior of F1. What a shames those times are so long gone. Can't he see that he just looks a hypocritical git making stupid statement like this. My advice to him would be to retire from the public gaze while still has some shreds of dignity left.

    • + 1
    • Mar 22 2018 - 12:35
    • And you Major Tom is for sure a Liberty employee.

      • + 0
      • Mar 22 2018 - 12:46
    • f1ski

      Posts: 288

      Its true.

      • + 0
      • Mar 22 2018 - 13:34
    • He really is a Himmler scrotum. A proper nasty little Skeleton Warrior.

      • + 0
      • Mar 22 2018 - 17:05
    • You mean like Max Mosley's ghey partner in crime? Wouldn't be surprised.

      • + 2
      • Mar 22 2018 - 17:24
  • I reckon if they go, it's because Fiat fed up paying the Ferrari bills for a division which doesn't make them big cash of mass production cars and maybe Fiat want to focus on the Alfa Romeo brand instead, otherwise Ferrari are going nowhere, their whole marketing strategy based in winning races!

    • + 0
    • Mar 22 2018 - 14:35
    • Valeriocus

      Posts: 1

      non sei informato. Ferrari paga da anni le fatture fiat

      • + 0
      • Mar 22 2018 - 20:35
  • TottyWelder

    Posts: 4

    I don't understand the value of a breakaway formula for Ferrari. Surely in a new competition then all of the entered teams would be entitled to an equal say and have equal distribution of wealth since no-one would have been there since the stone age?

    Am I missing something?

    • + 0
    • Mar 22 2018 - 15:06
    • Hepp

      Posts: 193

      As I understand, Sergio is saying, "It's my ball, and I am going home. If you want to play with my ball, I must win." ... The others say, " My parents can buy us another ball."

      • + 1
      • Mar 22 2018 - 17:59
    • Bhurt

      Posts: 320

      I thought Sergio was saying "it's my ball, and if you want to change the terms for which you get to play with it, I don't have to let you play with it if your new terms aren't to my liking". Seems fair enough to me.

      • + 0
      • Mar 22 2018 - 21:00
    • @Hepp spot on. I understand Ferrari pushing back on talk of standarizing a lot of components in engines, that's fair. But they don't even want to have the conversation. They refuse to discuss the asymmetric revenue distribution system, because they think they deserve more because of their 'historic value.' They have veto power, which no other team has ever had, and they don't want to lose that. The way I see it Ferrari has much more to lose by leaving F1. Their whole brand is about F1. Their recent investments have confirmed their long-term commitment. Sergio like Luca di Montezemolo simply do what Ferrari CEOs do. Talk a big game, be arrogant, push the envelope to maintain unfair competitive advantage.

      • + 0
      • Mar 22 2018 - 22:06
  • He's still alive? Go back to your corner Bernie. Nobody cares about your sour grapes.

    • + 0
    • Mar 22 2018 - 18:48
  • Bhurt

    Posts: 320

    He's pretty much spot on with every word. As usual.

    • + 0
    • Mar 22 2018 - 21:00
    • Yeah, on a spot far away from Bull's eye. He is about as spot on as Im handsome... And look at my profile pic!

      • + 0
      • Mar 23 2018 - 16:18

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