Formula One: Chase Carey slams Bernie Ecclestone

Chase Carey at the Russian Grand Prix, Sochi, in April, 2017.
Chase Carey at the Russian Grand Prix, Sochi, in April, 2017. PHOTO: REUTERS

F1 boss says Briton failed to market the sport, while presiding over a culture of negativity

LONDON • Formula One's new chairman Chase Carey has accused his predecessor Bernie Ecclestone of failing to grow the sport adequately during the Englishman's four-decade tenure.

Carey succeeded Ecclestone in January after Liberty Media's takeover of Formula One.

While the American admires Ecclestone for building the sport into a multi-billion dollar business, he believes opportunities to increase its global appeal were missed.

"It was very much a sport that got into a habit of saying 'no' too much. I want to be saying 'yes' to a whole lot more," Carey told Britain's Press Association.

"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 (that had successfully) taken advantage of what was here.

"All of us make mistakes and nobody is perfect. Bernie took a business from decades ago and sold it for US$8 billion (S$11.2 billion). 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."

While Carey, 63, has worked to increase the sport's social media footprint, to date he has made no significant changes to the grand prix weekend format.

But he defended Liberty Media's early record and said changes would be introduced gradually.

"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," he said. "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. We want to make sure we have the tools to manage the business as opposed to throwing things out there so somebody has a media story."

Liberty Media has held talks for a demonstration run in London - which would likely be held a few days before the British Grand Prix at Silverstone on July 16.

If successful, it could open the door to the possibility of a race in London.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, THE TIMES, LONDON

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 05, 2017, with the headline 'Carey slams Ecclestone'. Print Edition | Subscribe