Current F1 Commercial Chief Bernie Ecclestone has today stated that Liberty Media, the company in line to buy-out majority F1 shareholder CVC imminently, have requested the 85-year-old remain at the forefront for a further three years.
It was believed an announcement confirming the takeover would be made by the American entertainment company this week, however that looks to have been pushed back to sometime before the Singapore Grand Prix, with no specific date confirmed.
An $8.5 billion dollar, two-part agreement is said to be in the pipeline, and it is now thought to only be a matter of time before the deal goes through. It was hoped that the takeover might signal an end to Ecclestone’s time at the top, but his recent comments make this an unlikely scenario at present.
Speaking to motorsport.com the former Brabham Team Boss confirmed he had been asked to stay on, but was not sure when an official announcement would be made by Liberty Media, though a Formula 1 board meeting is scheduled for September 13, and could be an ideal time to officially confirm the details.
“They want me to be here for three years.
“Honestly, I don’t think anybody knows — including our friends from Liberty, and Donald [Mackenzie of CVC].
“Because all this is going through, they (CVC) want me to be there (in London) to help them with all sorts of things. I can’t afford to be away for five to six days.”
Ecclestone will miss the Singapore Grand Prix due to his commitments with CVC, something he is not entirely happy about.
Once the deal does go through, Chase Carey, who is currently executive vice-chairman at 21st Century Fox, as well as being a director at Sky Plc and one of the media industry’s top names, is expected to be announced as chairman of F1’s board as part of the deal, and will work alongside Ecclestone initially.
Carey’s appointment is likely to see the sport’s presence on social media and across all media platforms significantly boosted, and surprisingly Ecclestone is in favour of exploring this avenue, despite never feeling it necessary to promote F1 in that area himself.
“He (Carey) can do lots of things that I haven’t done with this social media, which he seems to be in touch with.
“He’s been dealing with sponsorship with his TV people. Between us we’ll get on with it.
It will be interesting to see how the 85-year-old takes to having a partner to consult whilst conducting his business, having worked more or less solo for such a long time, and whether he will indeed stay on under those conditions at all. Only time will tell if this is to eb the start of a new era for F1, or whether old habits will linger on.