Ecclestone out of the FOM loop

15/04/2017
NEWS STORY

Making his first appearance of the year in the F1 paddock, Bernie Ecclestone revealed that he has had little contact with the sport's new owners following the deal in January which saw Chase Carey effectively become the sport's supremo and Ecclestone exit stage left, albeit with the official title 'Chairman Emeritus'.

Though just three races into the new regime, some aspects of the paddock must have seemed like a different world to the Briton what with the relaxation of rules since Carey and his team took charge.

Greeting old friends and adversaries, Ecclestone revealed that he has had little contact with the new team at FOM, admitting that he hasn't even met the new commercial boss, Sean Bratches.

"Never met Sean," he told reporters, "I met Ross for ten minutes a week or so ago," he added, referring to Ross Brawn, FOM's new technical boss, "I knew Ross from the past obviously.

"I feel sorry for Chase being thrown in the deep end," he admitted. "I spoke to him this morning, I've spoken to him two or three times on one or two issues," he revealed, giving little else away.

On taking over the sport, Liberty Media insisted that its first task was to rebuild it, claiming that it had become staid and predictable.

"Nothing disrespectful, but there is very little I could have done, or you could do," said Ecclestone. "It's the racing that's been bad. If we have Ferrari going well and Red Bull going well, it would come back again and the public will be interested. And the racing is better up to now than it was last year."

Asked about the new regulations, he sighed.

"Every year they play around with bits and pieces. So we haven't done a lot to the cars. But the racing has been better.

"The tyre size was the same five years ago," he added. "They say the wider tyres are going to be something special, they are the same as they were."

For a man who is sure to have Frank Sinatra's iconic My Way played at his funeral, the 86-year-old admitted that he did have some regrets.

"I was running the company to try and make money for the shareholders," he said.

"It doesn't seem that's the thing that's driving them," he continued, referring to Liberty. "Chase wants to get more happy spectators I think. I wouldn't want to be having to deliver to a public company today," he admitted. "I feel sorry for Chase having to do that."

But there were other regrets, the Briton admits that in some cases the hosting fees he charged were excessive.

"When I convinced these people to build this place and all the other places, I charged them too much for what we provided so I feel a bit responsible," he said. "Nothing to do with Liberty, and it went on my watch. We didn't deliver the show that we charged them for."

Check out our Saturday gallery from Bahrain, here.

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Published: 15/04/2017
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