Bernie Ecclestone’s 40-year reign as Formula One supremo is over with the glamour sport’s new owners Liberty Media replacing him with American Chase Carey, Auto, Motor und Sport magazine reported on Monday.
The German magazine’s website (www.auto-motor-und-sport.de)reported that Ecclestone, 86, had been offered the post of honorary president.
Contacted by Reuters, the Briton and Liberty Media declined to comment.
The German publication, whose reporter has had close connections with Ecclestone, quoted him saying: “I was deposed today. I’ve gone. That’s official. I am not running the company anymore. My position has been taken over by Chase Carey.”
Carey, a 62-year-old American who was executive vice-chairman of Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox, was appointed Formula One chairman in September when Liberty took over the sport’s commercial rights from CVC Capital Partners.
The acquisition, which has now been approved by Liberty shareholders and the sports governing body, the International Automobile Federation (FIA), and has been valued at $8 billion including debt, is expected to be completed imminently.
The deal has been broadly welcomed in a sport featuring famous car brands such as Ferrari, McLaren and world champions Mercedes.
Carey has spent his time since September familiarising himself with the sport, and has made clear that fundamental changes need to be made to the business model.
Formula One currently lacks a marketing department and has derived much of its revenue from television rights and race hosting fees, with Ecclestone making the deals.
The Briton has also taken the F1 circus to new destinations, such as Azerbaijan and Bahrain, that are prepared to pay handsomely to host a round of the championship even if they lack the motorsport heritage of historic European circuits.
Liberty, owned by U.S. cable TV mogul John Malone, has emphasised the importance of the traditional venues and wants to expand in the Americas.
Auto, Motor und Sport said Carey would take on the dual function of president and chief executive with Ecclestone remaining on the board but removed from day-to-day management.
Former Ferrari technical director and ex-Mercedes team boss Ross Brawn has been widely tipped to take on a role on Carey’s leadership team.
“My days in the office will be somewhat quieter. Maybe I’ll come to a Grand Prix. I still have lots of friends in Formula One,” Ecclestone was quoted as saying. “I have enough money to be able to afford to visit a race.”
Ecclestone is also a member of the governing FIA’s World Motor Sport Council.
Asked whether he would retain that role, he said: “I doubt it. I’ll have to discuss it with (FIA president) Jean Todt.”
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