Bernie Ecclestone
Bernie Ecclestone Kamran Jebreili

Ecclestone not out to crash Formula 1 party

MOTORSPORT: Bernie Ecclestone has dismissed speculation he could look to set up a rival series to Formula 1, insisting he would never want to "damage" the sport.

The Briton's 40-year reign as F1's commercial boss ended last week after Liberty Media completed its takeover of the sport and installed a new management structure with Chase Carey taking day-to-day control.

Ecclestone was handed an honorary chairman emeritus role by Liberty but had publicly stayed silent since the changes were made official, prompting speculation about what his next moves might be.

But in response to suggestions he was plotting the creation of a rival series, Ecclestone issued a statement to Reuters in which he said: "I wish to clear up the rumours that I am starting a series to compete against the FIA Formula One World Championship.

"I have built the championship over the last near 50 years, which is something I am proud of, and the last thing I want is to see it damaged."

Ecclestone said he was "very touched" by the support he had received from former colleagues in recent days. He added that Liberty was in a position to run the sport differently.

"The new owner of the company will be able to carry out the administration of the company in a different way to the way I had, which was to produce financial results for the shareholders, the normal actions of a chief executive," Ecclestone added.

"This I have done for the different shareholders over the last years and also when I owned 100 per cent of the company.

"I would have loved the luxury of what Chase Carey, the CEO, is able to do. I hope the F1 supporters appreciate this as Chase intends to put money back into the sport."

Speaking to Sky Sports, Carey said Ecclestone still had a role to play in helping Liberty move the sport forwards and hoped the 86-year-old would continue to provide advice.

"Hopefully we'll find a way that it continues to be rewarding for him," said Carey.

"I want him to feel good about it. He will always be part of the Formula 1 family, he will always be welcome, and I want to try and make this something he can continue to feel part of.

"But it's a big change for him and I understand that."