F1 can go to 'new level' under Liberty Media, says Sky F1's Martin Brundle
Sky F1 pundit explains the areas Liberty can improve F1 and pays tribute to Bernie Ecclestone
Last Updated: 24/01/17 9:13pm
Sky F1's Martin Brundle believes the sport can go "to a new level" in its latest era of ownership after Liberty Media's takeover was formalised.
The changing of hands of the sport's commercial rights was officially completed on Monday with the immediate creation of a new management structure resulting in Bernie Ecclestone stepping down from his long-held chief executive role.
Brundle says there is a lot of opportunity for growth and modernisation to maximise the reach and popularity of the "very special" sport.
"I think we all agree that Formula 1 has been relying on history, heritage and momentum for a while now," the Sky F1 analyst and former driver told Sky Sports News HQ.
"I think we've gone down the wrong route in a number of ways so I think it is clear with new media and so many aspects like that we see that there is a lot of untapped opportunity.
"But as Bernie would remind you very quickly, turn that into money if you can. But of course you can't just then put your head in the sand and pretend it's not existing otherwise other sports, and particularly the new generation who take their sport and media in such a different way today, if you don't go to them, they are not going to go to you.
"You can't just ignore that aspect, you've got to go and embrace it, and even if it's a little bit financially painful or different for a time.
"Many of us have walked around F1 paddocks in recent years and thought 'this is unsustainable, this is not heading in the right direction'. It's still a brilliant sport, I love every minute of it. This is year 34 for me, I cannot wait to get to Melbourne for the first race.
"We have something very special and I think we can take it to a new level."
Ross Brawn, installed as motor sport managing director, has already spoken of a desire to create a more level financial playing field among the teams and Brundle agrees that should be one of Liberty's long-term aims.
"The way the money is distributed in F1 leaves the haves and have nots ever further apart and so the racing is not exciting as it should be," he said.
"Our David and Goliath moments, our FA Cup moments, can't happen if you like, so it has got to be levelled out so that every time has at least a chance of podiums or a sniff of victory from time to time."
While Ecclestone retains an official role in the new-look F1 structure as chairman emeritus, Liberty's takeover and swift management overhaul have brought an end to the 86-year-old's long day-to-day control of the sport.
Brundle says he and everyone else connected with F1 "owe him so much" after Ecclestone revolutionised the promotion and organisation of the championship from the mid-1970s onwards.
"His legacy is what he has created," said Brundle. "He took a disparate bunch of teams, circuits and television contracts and moulded them into what became a global phenomenon that is Formula 1.
"That will always be his legacy and as far as I'm concerned and many others inside Formula 1, he will always be Mr Formula 1 and whenever he comes to the paddock we're going to know about it just as we always have done."