Better The Devil You Know (Or Missing Bernie Ecclestone)

I can understand why people are glad Bernie Ecclestone has gone. He was a kleptocrat, who didn’t get media invented after 1980, and who seemed to be more interested in enriching himself than decent racing.

However, I do worry that Formula 1 fans might miss him more than we expect to.

When Bernie Ecclestone was in charge, you knew who was in charge and who was to blame for things. Who is in charge with Liberty Media? With whom does the buck stop? And I think with a sport, you do need *a* person in charge. Otherwise, instead of moving forward, you have lots of good ideas which never get implemented.

Liberty Media is run by a group of shareholders, who all have to be placated. With Bernie, you knew what he wanted, which was money, and more of it, but the process at least was easy.

The other thing, which could be me doing Liberty a disservice, is that Ecclestone was pretty hot on driver safety. Not openly. If he spoke about driver safety Ecclestone gave press quotes to annoy. But that was his thing, and if you believed anything Bernie Ecclestone said to the media, more fool you. On the other hand, US sports, particularly motorsports, have a reputation for not being careful about safety. Both the halo and the aeroscreen have their issues, but something needs to be done. I worry that Liberty won’t give that sort of change the help it needs to be pushed through.

As I said, I could be being unnecessarily pessimistic. Liberty are doing everything right so far, especially putting Ross Brawn in charge of improving the racing, but I do worry that we’ll miss Bernie.

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