Racing

Bernie Chase-d out

Long-time F1 supremo Ecclestone replaced by Chase Carey as Liberty Media completes takeover

Bernie Ecclestone's four-decade reign as the ruler of Formula One is over after American company Liberty Media completed its £6 billion (S$10.63b) purchase of the sport.

Chase Carey, who was already installed as the sport's chairman, replaces Ecclestone as chief executive officer.

Ecclestone, 86, has been handed the role of chairman emeritus, and will be available as a source to the new board, but he will no longer be involved in the day-to-day running of Formula One for the first time since the 1970s.

"I'm proud of the business that I built over the last 40 years and all that I have achieved with Formula One," Ecclestone said.

"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."

He said his new chairman emeritus role is "a kind of honorary president" position, but added: "I have this title without knowing what it means."

The new management is believed to be focused on reaching out to its audience via social media and growing the sport in the US.

But, among its first tasks is securing the future of certain races which the new owners consider valuable.

The Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix - whose contract expires after this year's race - is one of them, with Ecclestone once calling it the "crown jewel" of the sport.

Ecclestone was one of the key players in the negotiations to bring the Formula One to Singapore.

Carey was present at the Singapore race last year, and praised the event as "amazing".

After last year's race, Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) S Iswaran said negotiations for a contract extension was still at "an early stage".

The New Paper contacted both Singapore GP and the Singapore Tourism Board for comments on the impact of Ecclestone's departure on the negotiations yesterday.

A Singapore GP spokesman said: "As a policy, we don't comment on ongoing commercial negotiations."

A STB spokesman said they have "nothing to add" to Singapore GP's reply.

After completing the deal, Liberty Media paid tribute to the departing chief executive.

"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," Carey, also the vice-chairman of 21st Century Fox, said.

"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."

MASTERMIND

Ross Brawn, the British technical mastermind behind Michael Schumacher's seven world championships and Jenson Button's 2009 title triumph, returns to the sport as managing director. Sean Bratches, formerly of ESPN, takes on the leading commercial role.

Brawn said: "I'm looking forward to working with Chase, Sean and the rest of the Formula One team to help the evolution of the sport.

"We have an almost unprecedented opportunity to work together with the teams and promoters for a better F1 for them and, most importantly, for the fans."

The 20-race 2017 Formula One season gets underway in Australia on March 26 and ends in Abu Dhabi on November 26. - WIRE SERVICES

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