Back in January F1s new owners Liberty Media replaced Bernie Ecclestone with Chase Carey as the new CEO of the sport. In those few months Carey has gained a bigger understanding of the role and in an interview with the Press Association has said Bernie’s attitude had been holding the sport back.
“I want to be saying ‘yes’ to a whole lot more. What is the value of having an idea if the answer to everything you want to do is ‘no’? All it does is create frustration. There are an array of things that weren’t done that needed to be done. We felt it was a sport that for the last five or six years had really not been managed to its full potential or taken advantage of what was here.”
We’ve already seen some small improvements to the sport, namely in terms of a huge increase in social media activity and relaxed restrictions, but Carey says that major improvements will take some time, as Ecclestone’s focus on the short-term was one of the things that has hindered the sport:
“It has been three months and we have been very clear that one of the things the sport has not been served well by is a continued short-term focus, and what we are going to do next week. We care more about where the sport is going to be three years from now than three months from now. Bernie was always very focused on the short term, and our focus is on building long-term value.”
Like Bernie, Carey doesn’t seem to be a big fan of the current engine formula either, saying it highlights one of the problems the sport has faced in recent years:
“Some of the decisions that were made needed to have a better process to think through. The current engine, for example, ended up being too complicated, too expensive, and lost some of the sound that added to the mystique of the sport. We will do things and some things take time – you are not going to have a new engine in two months because if you tried to do that you are going to do more harm than good.”
It’s easy to criticise Bernie but he did do a lot of things well, and the sport probably wouldn’t be where it is now if it wasn’t for his efforts, something Carey was keen to acknowledge:
“All of us make mistakes and nobody is perfect. Bernie took a business from decades ago and sold it for eight billion dollars. He deserves all the credit in the world for what he has done. But in today’s world you need to market a sport. We were not marketing the sport.”
Bernie didn’t do a whole lot of marketing anything. Last year he claimed that he sport was the worst it’s ever been and that he wouldn’t watch it – quite the statement from the bloke in charge of it all! It doesn’t look like we’ll be getting much of that from Carey though, as he also said that he wouldn’t “throw things out there so somebody has a media story.”
No more suggestions of things like shortcuts or sprinklers, then. At least we hope not.