Exclusive Bernie Ecclestone Q&A
F1 supremo on the Liberty Media takeover, his future and Chase Carey
By William Esler
Last Updated: 18/09/16 2:08pm
Read the full transcript of Bernie Ecclestone's candid interview with Sky Sports F1's Martin Brundle.
Martin Brundle: What does the Liberty Media deal mean for Formula 1?
Bernie Ecclestone: "It shouldn't make any difference. They've asked me to stay on in my position, Chase [Carey] is going to be chairman, I've no idea what his ideas are, but it is difficult for him as he's sort of been thrown in the deep end a bit. So we'll see."
MB: You've said before that you find it difficult to work with other people. You're your own man, you're king of the castle here, how is that going to change this time?
BE: "It probably won't."
MB: So you think you might find it tough to work with Carey? But you've got to work with him do you not?
BE: "The only thing I have to do is die and pay my tax. Short of that I don't have to do anything."
MB: Judging by the queue of people outside your office in Singapore it is business as usual. You're the go to man, if I want to do a deal for a circuit or whatever I come to you?
MB: Is that going to change?
BE: "It'll only change if I don't do it and I'm not there."
MB: Are you happy about this deal?
BE: "Yeah…sure, sure. Cutting in a bit, there is going to be no problem with Chase, we will work together. He has got expertise that I haven't, we need to be in America, he knows America, he knows television and he can help us a lot. So I'm sure that is what is going to happen."
MB: Donald McKenzie is taking Chase up and down the paddock and introducing him to people, if you are going to work with him why isn't it you doing that?
BE: "Because Donald has nothing else to do. That is what he is here for."
MB: You will always be Mr Formula 1, probably forever, you're 86 next month, aren't you ready yet to be chairman emeritus and let these younger guys get on with it and give them your experience from time to time?
BE: "At the moment I am still able to deliver. When I think I can't then I'll stop."
MB: Does it annoy you all the cameras around Chase Carey as he went down the paddock? That's your patch Bernie…
BE: "No, what the hell? He's new to us and it's better he gets exposed to people."
MB: From time to time other executives have been put your way and it didn't work out did it?
BE: "No, probably this one has his feet on the ground and a little bit more experience."
MB: All these new revenue streams we are told are out there, is it something you believe in? Is it something you haven't had time to do? If there is a lot more revenue in the media world why haven't you been able to do it? What can he do different?
BE: "I've been doing things that make money and are good for the sport."
MB: Do you think Liberty will be able to think a bit more long term than CVC have done? They've taken a lot of cash out of this business.
BE: "They invested, they took a chance to invest and that is what they do, invest in a company and hope it makes money. They did the right thing."
MB: So you're engaged for at least another three years…
BE: "Let's see, let's see."
MB: Might there be a chance you just don't like it and walk off? Max Mosley said you might just walk away.
BE: "Well Max knows me every well."
MB: So it is not out of the question if you just don't like the way it is heading?
BE: "Thank God at the moment I don't quite need the money, I don't need a job and if by chance things aren't going the way I think would be the right way then I will disappear for sure."
MB: When you walk up and down this paddock now how do you feel? Do you feel satisfied? Proud? Work to be done?
BE: "I am happy to be associated with all the people with all the people. They are all…I think I can go anywhere and these people are friends. All the promoters, they rely on me with a handshake, I've just sorted something out now. Based on a handshake."
MB: Do you miss the old days when it was Ken Tyrrell and Frank Williams and Ron Dennis and you ruled the roost and they just followed you?
BE: "More or less now I don't have any opposition with the teams. They are all pretty good. As long as I can deliver for them they are happy. If I couldn't and don't then they'd be unhappy and I'd go."
MB: When you sold F1 you got a lot of cash in your pocket - do you wish you hadn't?
BE: "Well what I did was I gave all the shares in the company to my now ex-wife and she put them in a trust and it was the trust that sold them. Are you saying it would have been better if I hadn't have done that?"
MB: Yeah, because all the billions CVC have taken out would have been your cash.
BE: "Up to a point it doesn't make a lot of difference does it?"
Don't miss the F1 Report for all the reaction and analysis from the Singapore GP. F1 technical expert Craig Scarborough joins Natalie Pinkham and Marc Priestley in the studio at 8:30pm on Wednesday on Sky Sports F1.