Longstanding boss of Formula 1 Ecclestone has departed following a takeover of the sport by Liberty Media

Bernie Ecclestone is no longer the boss of Formula 1 following the completion of a takeover of the sport.

He had earlier told German magazine Auto Motor und Sport: "I am simply gone. It's official. I am no longer the leader of the company."

The 86-year-old has been F1’s chief executive for 39 years. His departure comes close to four months after F1’s acquisition by Liberty Media for $8.4 billion. Reports suggest he was forced from the helm by the American company.

Ecclestone has now assumed the role of chairman emeritus where he will act as an adviser to the board. The leading role has been filled by Chase Carey (pictured below), who is vice chairman of the 21st Century Fox media conglomerate.

The cars of Formula 1 2017

"My new position is one of those American term," Ecclestone continued. "It's something like an honorary president. I have this title now, even though I don't know what it means."

It is not yet known if Ecclestone, who entered two Grand Prix races himself back in 1958, has sold his final 5% share of the sport. He’s estimated to be worth nearly £2.5bn.

Zak Brown, exectutive director of the McLaren Technology Group, paid tribute to Ecclestone. "Formula 1 wouldn’t be the international sporting power-house that it is today without the truly enormous contribution made over the past half-century by Bernie Ecclestone," he said. "Indeed, I can’t think of a single other person who has had anything like as much influence on building a global sport as he has.

McLaren CEO Zak Brown: next year will be a game changer for the brand

"Bernie will be a very hard act to follow, but he’s created a fantastic springboard from which Chase Carey and his Liberty Media colleagues will be able to take Formula 1 forward and make it even bigger and even better. How will ‘bigger and better’ manifest itself? I think the clue is in the words ‘liberty’ and ‘media’. Over the next decade I expect the way Formula 1 is run will become both freer and more fan-friendly, and as such we can expect to see new generations of Formula 1 devotees recruited and delighted via the proactive embracing of digital and social media, gaming etc," concluded Brown.

Ecclestone also told Auto Motor und Sport that he doesn't expect to keep his seat on the World Motor Sport Council.

"I doubt it," he told the magazine. "First of all, I have to talk to [FIA president] Jean Todt about this."

The new owner of F1, Liberty Media, plans to make drastic changes to the sport in order to broaden its appeal. It intends to sell shares to F1 teams, expand into new media formats and even adjust the structure of race weekends to attract new viewers.

Our Verdict

Ferrari California T

Improved version of Ferrari's drop-top GT gets a 552bhp twin-turbocharged V8 but light steering curtails its outright driver appeal

Join the debate


23 January 2017
At least a decade too late, the little megalomaniac has gone. Is it too late to save F1? This sport has lost its mojo and desperately needs it back.

26 January 2017
It is more like twenty years,but, nobody ever managed to remove him.why was that?,so a little old Car salesmen ran the sport for 40 yrs,had to be doing something right?,yes he's made a tidy sum of money out of F1,he wasn't the only one!,no i won't be sad to see him go,but,what does an 86yrs old do to fill his Days now?

Peter Cavellini.

23 January 2017
Now the geriatric has gone let's get back to proper racing. Ditch all the electronic aids and get the drivers to change gear manually by using a gear stick!!

Whilst it's great to have all the modern gizmos, it costs a fortune and only the big teams compete here.

This new lot have a great opportunity to drive down costs and make the drivers work for a change with no automatics or driver aids. Will it happen...I'm not holding my breath!

24 January 2017
Ludicrous speed wrote:

Now the geriatric has gone let's get back to proper racing. Ditch all the electronic aids and get the drivers to change gear manually by using a gear stick!!

Whilst it's great to have all the modern gizmos, it costs a fortune and only the big teams compete here.

This new lot have a great opportunity to drive down costs and make the drivers work for a change with no automatics or driver aids. Will it happen...I'm not holding my breath!

Ross Braun gets a peach job, thats the real news,

…. and exactly the role Ross was looking for, running the sport without having to glad hand the commercial side… he can just get on with the meaty bits… It'll be great to see what he marshals in terms of the technical regulations.. what engines?- back to a petrolhead sport? goodbye to playdough tyres, less driver aides, better aero for overtaking,- I'd go the whole hog, fully low tech down to a gear lever and no computer chips on board; only pure mechanical engineering solutions and all out racing for the whole race …

24 January 2017
Will it be...

Good or bad? Time will tell whether F1 will return to its racing glory of less rules, more freedom for vis a vis racing competition. Safety is of course paramount to the sport, but by imposing too much safety parameters it simply dumbed down the attractiveness of the motorsport.

Attractiveness? Ah... carbon emissions is another contributing issue that made F1 too squeaky clean. Bring back V8s, V10s and V12s!

de_design2  l  Exclusively Bespoke®

24 January 2017
I watched the WRC Monte Carlo stages last night and I really cant understand why so many people seem to be obsessed with F1 and WRC only gets a minimal coverage by comparison? Watching Ogier, Latvalla, Meeke and co hammering across snow, then ice, then wet tarmac then gravel, with not a tyre change in sight is far more entertaining to my eyes than Hamilton,Vettel and co driving round in circles, trying not to make too much noise in case they scare some pidgeons or something!
OK so theres no 'traditional' gear sticks and clutches etc, but they do actually use paddles and the occasional Scandinavian flick with the handbrake. And you wont see Button laying underneath his F1 car fixing a broken drop link at the side of the track while everyone else blats past sideways will you? Come on, now is the perfect time to shift the focus from F1 to WRC and put the Sport back into Motor Sport!

24 January 2017
goodbye greedy little man
Red Devil

24 January 2017
At last!

He bled it dry. getting the "best" deal does mat make good quality.

Hopefully they'll make it viable for a circuit to hold races and make sure that traditional races are viable because quality sells.

The distribution of funds needs sorting too, but that will take time.

Don't expect to return to V8/10 or V12, they're old technology and F1 is supposed to be the panicle of tech, plus the engine manufacturers want to promote their green credentials.

Expect some tweeting in 2018, if needed. We can let Ross decide.....

Bernie did a lot of good, but will be remembered for his personal greed and powerlust.

24 January 2017
I'm not 100% sure that this is going to be quite as good a move as people think. Bernie made no secret of his hatred of the current generation cars and wanted to make the spectacle better for the spectators. I think it was Mercedes and a couple of others that threatened to leave if they didn't bring in hybrid V6 motors. It may be a little like Yes Prime Minister; when Chasy Chase Chase get's his feet under the table he could find that it's harder to bring in the changes than he hoped. We'll see. I fully agree with the comments about the WRC; it and MotoGP is far, far better than the Emperor's new clothes that is F1. Spread the money around the lower teams and give them all 100 litres of fuel for the race then rip up the rule book is my take on F1.

24 January 2017
I forgot to add, cut the races down to two 30 lappers to suit the current generation of future F1 spectators and make the engine manufacturers pair up with one of the lower teams with a system of sealed engines in place to prevent them form screwing the little guys with substandard stuff.

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • First Drive
    21 March 2018
    The new Vantage has been developed as a Porsche 911 beater, and our first taste on UK roads suggests it can live up to that bold claim
  • Nissan Leaf Tekna
    The is the new Nissan Leaf
    First Drive
    21 March 2018
    The new version of the world's best-selling electric car gains a bigger battery and more power. How does it compare to rivals such as the Volkswagen e-Golf?
  • Range Rover p400e
    First Drive
    20 March 2018
    The original luxury SUV is now available as a plug-in hybrid, promising lower emissions and the capacity for silent electric motoring
  • BMW i3s
    Car review
    20 March 2018
    Revised hatchback sets out its range-extended electric stall in a new, sportier tune
  • BMW X2
    This is the new BMW X2
    First Drive
    20 March 2018
    Doesn’t deliver many typical crossover selling points but looks perky, handles keenly and is well capable of winning over your latent cynic