Given that Bernie Ecclestone’s departure from Formula One essentially was involuntary, some might expect him to harbor resentment toward Liberty Media. But he says he doesn’t.
Ecclestone told German publication Auto Motor und Sport on Wednesday that he definitely isn’t holding a grudge against F1’s new owners.
The 87-year-old attended more races in the beginning of 2017 than toward the end, though he insisted that isn’t indicative of a chip on his shoulder. In fact, he claimed he simply was respecting Liberty’s desire for F1 to start a new, post-Ecclestone chapter.
“The opposite. I’m proud of Formula One and I want it to be fine,” Ecclestone said. “I have a feeling that my successors do not want to see me on the track anymore.”
The former “F1 Supremo” acknowledged that he’s enjoyed gaining a new perspective on the sport by watching races on TV. He wasn’t the only new spectator in 2017, either, as F1 saw an increase both in terms of viewership and attendance.
For Ecclestone, who has been openly critical of the current hybrid formula, the reason for the renewed interest in F1 is clear.
“I’ve waited five years for Ferrari to wake up. That’s finally happened,” Ecclestone said. “The duel, Ferrari against Mercedes, has mobilized the fans.”
The sport’s former CEO claimed that prior to 2017, he had been apologizing to Grand Prix promoters because Mercedes dominance was not the product they paid to host. Now, however, Ecclestone reportedly congratulates organizers because they are getting their money’s worth.
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