Bernie Ecclestone says prospective new F1 owners Liberty Media want him to stay on ‘for three years’

Media reports have suggested the first part of a broader deal between outgoing rights holders CVC and Liberty Media could be announced before the end of the week.
Formula One commercial rights owner Bernie Ecclestone at the Italian Grand Prix Formula One circuit in Monza, Italy, September 4, 2016. Daniel Dal Zennaro / EPA
Formula One commercial rights owner Bernie Ecclestone at the Italian Grand Prix Formula One circuit in Monza, Italy, September 4, 2016. Daniel Dal Zennaro / EPA

Formula One’s commercial chief Bernie Ecclestone has been asked to stay on for three years after an imminent takeover of the sport is completed by United States cable TV mogul John Malone’s Liberty Media.

“They want me to be here for three years,” Ecclestone, 85, who over the decades has built the sport into a business with an annual turnover of around US$1.9 billion (Dh6.9bn), said yesterday.

Media reports have suggested the first part of a broader deal between outgoing rights holders CVC and Liberty Media could be announced before the end of the week.

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However, Ecclestone and CVC chairman Donald Mackenzie voiced some scepticism about the time frame at last weekend’s Italian Grand Prix.

“Honestly, I don’t think anybody knows, including our friends from Liberty, and Donald,” Ecclestone said.

The Briton said he would not be attending next week’s Singapore Grand Prix because of the negotiations.

“Because all this is going through, they [CVC] want me to be there [in London] to help them with all sorts of things. I can’t afford to be away for five to six days.”

A Formula One board meeting is scheduled for next Tuesday, by which time the deal should have been finalised and a new chairman introduced.

Ecclestone expects that to be Chase Carey, executive vice chairman of Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox and a director of Sky News owner Sky Plc, who would replace Austrian Peter Brabeck-Letmathe in the role.

Ecclestone indicated he would be happy to share the workload. According to Ecclestone, Carey “can do lots of things that I haven’t done with this social media, which he seems to be in touch with,” he said. “He’s been dealing with sponsorship with his TV people. Between us we’ll get on with it.”

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Published: September 7, 2016 04:00 AM

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