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Bernie putting a brave face on things?

NEWS STORY
11/10/2006

Bernie Ecclestone is playing down the loss to F1 of Michael Schumacher, claiming that the German's retirement at the end of the season will not do major damage to the sport, citing the fact that the sport continued after the loss of Ayrton Senna.

The fact is that the sport not only continued after the loss of the Brazilian, it positively thrived, the publicity generated, not to mention the ghoul factor, saw the sport move up into the big league, and almost overnight the sport became big business.

Looking ahead to 2007 however, Formula One is not only losing Schumacher, it has already lost Jacques Villeneuve and Juan Pablo Montoya, three drivers who command massive personal support, three drivers who generate opinion, usually polarised.

There are a lot of bright young things coming into Formula One, including Heikki Kovalainen, Nico Rosberg, Sebastian Vettel, Robert Kubica and Lewis Hamilton, and the long-term prospects look good.

However, no matter how he might dress it up, Ecclestone will be aware, as will most people within the business, that the loss of three popular drivers, not to mention the introduction of a number of widely unpopular rule changes leave F1 facing a difficult future, certainly in the short term.

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