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Ecclestone to Rosberg: You are no good for my business

NEWS STORY
25/05/2015

Bernie Ecclestone claims that champions like Lewis Hamilton are better for the sport.

In an extraordinary interview for the official F1 website, Bernie Ecclestone has rubbished the likes of Nico Rosberg and Sebastian Vettel, claiming that Lewis Hamilton presents a better image for the sport.

Known for his keen sense of humour, Ecclestone, in a joint interview with Rosberg, says: "Generally I believe that Lewis is the best champion that we have had in a long, long time.

"He manages to get to all different walks of life: red carpet, fashion business, and music… you name it.

"That is not your fault or his," he tells Rosberg. "You two are just very different characters."

Asked to explain, Ecclestone adds: "Nico is not seeking the limelight as Lewis does. Lewis wants to be famous."

At this point Rosberg is asked if he understands what the F1 supremo is saying.

"Of course I do," says the German. "Bernie is the commercial rights holder so the more outgoing the champion is, the better.

Of course. I also do think about our sport and want to make an effort - but in my own way. I am Nico and not Lewis!"

"Let's put it this way," says Ecclestone. "I am happy that we have somebody like Lewis. I also couldn't be like Lewis. I don't like gold jewellery!"

When asked who he would rather find himself stuck in an elevator with, Ecclestone says: "I wouldn't mind both. But I think I would find it easier to talk with Nico than Lewis, as Lewis is into things that are very distant to me.

"But when it comes to F1 I am a huge Lewis fan because he is a super promoter of the sport. From a pure business aspect - sorry Nico if I have to say this - you are not so good for my business."

"Wait a minute," interrupts Rosberg. "That is a hard call."

"It sounds harder than it is meant," says Ecclestone. "Unfortunately you don't have the German fans on your side. As the cancellation of the German Grand Prix indicates, Germany is a terrible market for Formula One.

"On the contrary Lewis is a hero in the UK," says the man who for years threatened to end Grand Prix racing in Britain. "The British love Formula One. Sebastian is also not doing much for F1. People hardly recognize him on the street."

Asked if he feels that F1 is lacking figureheads, Ecclestone replies: "Yes. I also would rather race than strut red carpets in Hollywood - and thank God this is not my job - but also the team principals should be more prominent. Take away Toto Wolff's Mercedes shirt and send him down a street - nobody would recognize him."

Which suggests that (Red Bull boss) Christian Horner's much publicised marriage to Geri Halliwell will have gone down extremely well with Bernie and his business interests.

In some ways, one would like to think that this is Ecclestone's (Gerald) Ratner moment (Google it). His comments, in terms of F1 support in Britain are risible when one considers the total contempt he showed for British fans until Silverstone finally gave in to his excessive demands.

As for his comments about Hamilton, Lewis is selling himself not F1, it is the sport's business to sell F1, not the participants.

Fact is, one person who can walk down almost any street in the world and be recognised is Mr Bernard Charles Ecclestone, and that is because in recent years he has been a regular feature on TV screens and newspapers... attracting the sort of publicity his business really doesn't need.

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1. Posted by scf1fan, 28/05/2015 16:38

"@KoosOos Your statement was that "Lewis is better for F1." (And in essence agreeing with BE.) You can try to slice and dice my statements as you wish, but as far as I can see, the answer is still, no he isn't. Not in the long term, not in the short term, not by any historical perspective. He is a good driver and he has some draw (certainly in Britain) but what you equate as his benefit (for attracting new fans) is the same benefit any (preferably newer) driver leading in the championship has. He's no different. And the evidence, not BE wishful thinking, supports those statements. I guess I'm losing the direction of your argument a bit in that, it seems to have become more of a "marketing" argument? That LH lifestyle and personality has a halo effect for F1, and that they are what will be the attraction for new fans to F1?

LH has been in F1 since 2007 . . . If I'm wrong, where is the flood of new or revitalized fans from the LH effect? Where are those benefits? You and BE saying that he opens up a new fan base, (since you acknowledge that he hasn't really changed the sport) doesn't make it so. In comparison, when Tiger Woods came on the golf scene and started winning, he was everything you and BE describe about LH. His impact on golf was profound and measurable!! He didn't "change" golf, but the galleries swelled, viewership went up, more sponsors signed up; he became a "brand." His presence changed the demographic of the game.

I don't think you or BE can show that LH has had any similar effect regardless of scale. And to be very specific, Tiger's effects were due first and foremost due to his play in the sport; his personal life issues have been distractions. The assertion that LH's lifestyle will benefit F1 (which is what I understand where a lot of yours and BE's emphasis is coming from) is still . . . perplexing.

"

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2. Posted by KoosOos, 28/05/2015 6:41

"@scf1fan
This is where you go wrong. Bernie was not talking about how was the best driver or who will changes F1. IT is about selling F1 to agree to fans but mostly about getting new fans. For this Lewis is by far the best suited for it. Do i agree with you that he is not the best driver on the grid yes. Do i agree with you that he will not do some thing to changes F1 yes. But is he the best driver out there to get new fans to the sport, yes he is by far. I'm not trying to make it to age social gap thing. It is about selling F1 to new people preferable young people. They are the future of the sport. For long standing and older of age F1 fan, Lewis is not that interesting but for younger people he is. I think the difference between my point and yours is that i see it as Bernie looking for some one he can use to promote F1 to new fans and you are seeing it as some one like Jackie how will changes F1. Ones again i will state that if Bernie is looking for some one like Jackie how will
changes F1 then Lewis is the wrong person but to promote the sport there is non better then Lewis."

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3. Posted by scf1fan, 27/05/2015 15:51

"@KoosOos "In connection about Jackie Stewart I would say that Nikki had a bigger {impact} on F1 then Stewart had. LOL" Not even close!! Certainly NL is an F1 personality and was an exceptionally technically astute driver, but JS lead/fought a "war" over safety in F1 and on organizing the driver's on issues which are still benefiting F1 (and the drivers, as in helping to keep them alive!) today.

And that is a good example of why I think you miss the mark with BE's evaluation of LH's importance to F1; it's a difference between the long term and short term views. LH performance so far is just as the "hero" of the moment at best. You think he is more interesting, which is certainly your privilege, but then you want to make it into an age/social gap thing if someone else doesn't. I understand that, it's called being a fan . . . but I disagree with it being relevant to this discussion. I would believe that most people, including me, respect LH's driving skills, just as they did Lauda's, and Senna's, Mansell's, Prost's, etc. Are his skills so significantly better than the other? I would say no, but that does make for an interesting discussion. Personally, I have some issues with how he has handled himself in F1, not big stuff, but still annoying, and that probably does color my views to some degree.

So in the end, what he does off the course, no matter how "cool" it may seem at the moment, doesn't make me think it advances the sport of F1 as you do."

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4. Posted by karel, 27/05/2015 11:06

"I couldn't disagree more, LH is the joke of F1, proving that you don't need much to wheel a f1 car these days.
Earrings, sunglasses not permitting you to see the face, in some magazines he shows he has a little bit more then Beckham (yes underwear), acting like a calimero, no for me he is the joke of F1, and not really an example as pilot."

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5. Posted by KoosOos, 27/05/2015 7:11

"@scf1fan

Funny enough i do agree with a lot of what you say. Lets take this example. F1 brings out a completion in hi schools and university to get them interested in F1. Study the driver and wright an peace on the driver you like most. How will they wright about. Most of the people i will even go as far as to say more than 50% of the people will wright about Lewis because he is cool in there eyes he does what they like. Yes true for the older people he is not so appealing but F1 needs young fans and Lewis is the face you what to show them. He is just more interesting then the other drivers.

In connection about Jackie Stewart i would say that Nikki had a bigger in pact on F1 then Stewart had. LOL"

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6. Posted by scf1fan, 27/05/2015 1:39

"@KoosOos I would disagree with most of the particulars of your points as to how they make LH "better" for F1 than any other (current) driver. Certainly we all tend to like different personalities for different reasons; and if you or BE or whomever tend to identify with Lewis more than another driver, for whatever reason; sure, go ahead be a fan. But the statement here is that "he" Lewis Hamilton (or his persona, or his attitude, or his whatever) is better for F1 than say, Nico Rosberg's . . . I see no evidence of that. Is it a different "vibe?" Certainly . . . "Better" I don't think so.

I don't want to sound like I feel that whatever LH does outside of F1 is a negative in any specific sense; what he does for his own enjoyment is certainly up to him. But I do find how he carries himself inside F1, at times, to be a bit of a distraction . . . And I don't see how that can be a real benefit to F1.

The history of F1 is filled with "famous" drivers with personalities of all types. But few have really made that much of a difference to F1 itself. One driver comes on the scene, one driver goes; most of the time it is a net zero with small blips up or down. In fact, although there are many names in the record books, I can only think of one (in my lifetime anyway) that has really made a significant, lasting difference to F1. And that is Jackie Stewart. IMNSHO anyway. ;-)
"

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7. Posted by Kkiirmki, 26/05/2015 21:17

"I was under the impression that F1 was about quality racing not about how many Kardashians (or any other so called "celebrities") you can bring to a race track.

Ironic comments from someone who doesn't like any form of social media, seems to think F1 doesn't need young fans and has tried to stymie any promotion of F1 from outside sources unless it lines his own pockets. "

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8. Posted by Marc, 26/05/2015 21:14

"Perhaps Bernie might like to share all this wealth he is creaming off the publicity Lewis is brining into his business. A little would not go a mist, after all you scratch my back and I scratch yours?"

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9. Posted by You Started It!!, 26/05/2015 18:16

"What !!!"

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10. Posted by Darvi, 26/05/2015 15:25

"Whether or not Nico or Lewis are better for F1 is irrelevant - the fact is that Bernie isn't any good for F1 and that realisation needs to drive CVC to replace him with someone better able to, together with the lamentable Todt, come up with a long term plan for F1."

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11. Posted by KoosOos, 26/05/2015 13:37

"@Mugmug

There i agree with you a can not relate to him when it comes to his live style, for that i'm to old as well. But i can relate to him because when you did your best and you failed or you feel you have been cheated and get angry or being upset. I think all of us have been there and now how it feels. I also believe a lot of people follows him because he acts like a normal human been he is not a PR masjeen.

We as older people might not like the rapper images he puts foreword but 2.7 milj followers on twitter does
(taht is more followers then Merc and Ferrari has to getter) does (LOL i had to google it). Lewis sells the sport to young ppl. Like you i do not under stand way ppl want to now every thing about some one else life but that is what the younger people want and that is what he gives them."

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12. Posted by Mugmug, 26/05/2015 12:25

"@KoosOos

You keep saying that LH is better for F1. More outgoing, dynamic etc. etc. If this is the case why are the crowds dwindling and the sponsors showing less interest?

From what I've seen recently (and at a seemingly accelerated pace) Lewis is becoming more of a soul brother and rapper all the time, (a "me" person).

Maybe I'm getting too old, but I sure as hell can't "relate" to him as you say. "

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13. Posted by KoosOos, 26/05/2015 6:36

"@ scf1fan

You ask me why Lewis is better for F1. It is an simple answer. He does things in the out side the F1 world. True i do believe that Vettel most probably has the personality of all the top drivers out there but no one in the out side of F1 knows that. Where as people knows Lewis out side F1. Also i never said that Lewis was the best driver out there. If you ask me i would still say Alonso is better then him. But the fact that Lewis shows his emotions and carry's them on his sleeve is what makes him special. People can relate to him. People can see he is human just like the rest of us. Even most people how do not like him will follow every artical that is publish about him. For some one to sell F1 to people how does not follow F1 you need to be out there where the people are not in F1 circles and that is what Lewis does.

"

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14. Posted by Martin B, 26/05/2015 4:47

"The rate at which BE's more ridiculous comments have been appearing in the past few years has been steadily increasing in direct proportion to how his intelligent comments have been decreasing. Time to take the carriage clock and watch old man and retire gracefully whilst you still have sufficient marbles to make a graceful exit so that we can remember all the good things you have done."

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15. Posted by Joop deBruin, 26/05/2015 3:31

"totaltasch, I was a middling fan of Schumi, while my son was a huge fan from age 7, and met him at age 9. Not sure why Vettel is any different than Schumi, except he's a little more outgoing, definitely has a wicked sense of humor that I never saw with Schumi.

Not knocking Schumi here, but EVERYONE in the business agrees that Vettel is a true team member to everyone on the team, even the janitors. So I get that there are German haters, but they likely hated Schumi too. So what's different with Vettel? Not being confrontational, just curious what you think the difference might be."

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