Bernie Ecclestone at the Silverstone racetrack in England.
Bernie Ecclestone at the Silverstone racetrack in England. Luca Bruno

Bye bye Bernie: Ecclestone deposed as CEO of F1

THE era of Bernie Ecclestone's 40-year reign over Formula 1 is at an end with Liberty Media confirming it has completed its purchase of the sport.

The American media and communications group has installed Chase Carey, once tipped as a potential successor to Rupert Murdoch as the head of News Corp, as its new CEO in place of Ecclestone, in addition to his role as the sport's chairman.

Ecclestone has been moved to the role of chairman emeritus of F1, a role in which he will act as an adviser for the board but with no direct power over the sport.

"We are delighted to have completed the acquisition of F1 and that Chase will lead this business as CEO," Greg Maffei, president and CEO of Liberty Media, said in a statement from the company.

"There is an enormous opportunity to grow the sport, and we have every confidence that Chase, with his abilities and experience, is the right person to achieve this.

"I'd like to thank Bernie Ecclestone, who becomes chairman emeritus, for his tremendous success in building this remarkable global sport."

Carey now holds two of the key roles in the sport's management, having previously been installed as F1's chairman when the Liberty Media deal was announced last September.

"I am excited to be taking on the additional role of CEO. F1 has huge potential with multiple untapped opportunities," Carey said.

"I have enjoyed hearing from the fans, teams, FIA, promoters and sponsors on their ideas and hopes for the sport. We will work with all of these partners to enhance the racing experience and add new dimensions to the sport and we look forward to sharing these plans over time.

"I would like to recognise and thank Bernie for his leadership over the decades. The sport is what it is today because of him and the talented team of executives he has led, and he will always be part of the F1 family. Bernie's role as chairman emeritus befits his tremendous contribution to the sport and I am grateful for his continued insight and guidance as we build F1 for long-term success and the enjoyment of all those involved."

For Ecclestone, it means the end of a 40-year reign in which he oversaw the transformation of the sport into a global multi-billion-dollar commercial giant.

"I'm proud of the business that I built over the last 40 years and all that I have achieved with Formula 1, and would like to thank all of the promoters, teams, sponsors and television companies that I have worked with," Ecclestone is quoted as saying in the statement.

"I'm very pleased that the business has been acquired by Liberty and that it intends to invest in the future of F1. I am sure that Chase will execute his role in a way that will benefit the sport."

Carey's appointment is the latest change to the sport's management structure this week with Liberty reportedly making widespread changes to F1's board.

The changes are being engineered by Liberty Media in a sign of the new owner's determination to press ahead with radical changes to the administration of F1.

Liberty has also offered all F1 teams an opportunity to purchase shares in the sport, amid plans to radically change how the sport hands out its yearly financial dividends to each team.