The Years With Bernie Ecclestone were of fun and fuel – Now Time For New Ideas in Formula One

The Iconic image above was shot by Terry O’Neil who broke a band called The Rolling Stones with a photograph spent time with David Bowie, Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, my man Frank Sinatra and a number of other super stars just having fun taking pictures.

I truly don’t know anyone who knows as many people in the world like Terry O’Neil other than Bernie Ecclestone.  I’ll never forget a telephone conversation in Italy arranging a pass for myself telling Bernie, “Bernie I was with the Aga Khan earlier”, to which Bernie responded, “He just left the paddock few minutes ago.”

My history with Bernie Ecclestone goes back to the days in Toronto when I was just in my teens and the CEO of Labatt Sid Oland gave me a blank cheque-book.  Both Sid and I had a passion for racing, and growing up if you lived in Toronto in those days you would drink Labatt Blue.  So how do we sell more beer, there are so many ways but then what is more fun then putting your name on a few drivers and a racing team.  Thus began this long relationship with Bernie Ecclestone.

These were the years when race car driver would tell the hot girl sitting with them they would have to vacate the seat in an hour so another model like hot girl could replace them.  The years, when if I say anyone with a girl who resembled the girl from the last race one would never say, “nice to meet you again,” as mostly likely this was a different girl. So no room for ‘oops’.

During this time Bernie was busy, he would return your call always. While some would send him lengthy emails about business ideas, if the email was not a few lines it was already too long, and with Bernie Ecclestone it was simply better to pick up the phone and call.

What Bernie was building was one of the greatest sporting event superseded only by The Olympics and The World Cup.  Now ask yourself what were you doing?  1478773151747

I first met Ross Brawn in Mexico City, I was standing in the pits when Nigel Mansell ahead of his teammate Riccardo Patrese, both Labatt’s sponsored  finished one and two with Michael Schumacher achieving his first podium in a car designed by Ross Brawn.  Michael Schumacher would go on to a total of 155 podiums.  It was the day a star was born in Formula One.

While Bernie never got Americans, the sport really did need Americans to take it to the next level.  Here are some of my ideas I’ll be pitching.

Building a new street track in Florida and I would like to see it on the water in Jacksonville incorporated into the mix below.  Here one could parlay a relationship with NFL into a new fan base.

Creating F1 Films, such as ESPN Films, and NFL Films, where young film directors could come make sixty-seconds films for YouTube.

As Liberty media owns forty-percent of Live Nation to tap into artists on tour and put them in the paddock and pits only if they are engaging using their social media

Robin Morgan who bought the photo archive of Terry O’Neil and owns Iconic Images has for years been telling Bernie that Formula One has so much content that has not been exploited and so much can be done with this content.

The F1 On Tour, would use such content of stills and moving images to create an exhibit such as David Bowie Is that would tour and immerse its fans in a dazzling digital world of sound, and music.

Yet the most important of all, for god’s sake get a woman racing, anyone seen the Women’s March? like ‘hello’ talk about a fan base that has not yet been tapped.

Time to rock and roll.  Bernie it would not be anything without all your work, living, breathing, dealing Formula One.

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Bernie Ecclestone Era comes to an End With New Title Of ‘Honorary President’ Formula One

“I am simply gone. It’s official. I am no longer the leader of the company. My new position is one of those American terms. It’s something like an honorary president. I have this title now, even though I don’t know what it means.”

An era of Bernie Ecclestone comes to an end it will be made official on Tuesday. t’s understood the change will be formally be announced with the appointments of Ross Brawn and former ESPN man Sean Bratches, who will take up newly created sporting and commercial roles respectively.

It has been a while coming but it is now time to finally move Formula One into the real world. Only last week I sat down at The Four Seasons Hotel Toronto for lunch with IMG-WEM to explore some ideas for the future.

In the past years I brought Bernie YouTube when it was just launched. I told Bernie at that time, “Look Bernie people are gonna come to the races they are gonna film using their smart phone and put it on YouTube. I want to be able to beat them and create our own films for YouTube.” Naturally Bernie had no clue what I was talking about and a few weeks later he called me, “Timothy, there are all kind of videos on YouTube how do I have these removed?”. I suggested to Bernie that he talk to my friends who do copyright for Rolling Stones whom I had introduced to him at a race in Monaco.

Few years later I came to Bernie with Google Earth, then with Live-stream, and more recently use of drones and engaging a new younger fan-base. All these ideas he heard but simply did not get or understand. Unlike President Donald Trump who get’s Twitter, Bernie never could grasp it.

Chase Carey comes from communication. I met Chase long ago at 20th Century Fox Studio in Century City. I would later take to Chase an opportunity presented by David Bowie’s management to sponsor The Rolling Stones ‘Bridge to Babylon’ tour for television rights, and Chase acted on this swiftly.

So now it’s time to open up the game and many more opportunities come into play now because Sean Bratches who comes from ESPN.

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Bernie Ecclestone Three More Years As Boss of F1 and The Reverse Takeover of Liberty Media by F1

“Because all this is going through, they (CVC) want me to be there to help them with all sorts of things. I can’t afford to be away for five to six days” – Bernie Ecclestone

Things are moving along the path that Liberty Media will take control of F1 from private equity group CVC Capital Partners.  Yet anything can happen.  One thing is clear.  Bernie Ecclestone say’s “They want me to be here for three years,” that is one loaded answer could mean anything and the three years better be to Bernie’s liking.

Here is what I can tell you.  Chase Carey, vice-chairman of 21st Century Fox, will become the new chairman.  This is a great thing.  One day when David Bowie’s office called and said ” Hey Tim Rolling Stones need a broadcasting deal”, I took this to Carey who made it happen for the ‘Bridge to Babylon Tour’.  Carey is also a very smart nice guy.

The Deal –

Liberty has already taken an initial 18.7 per cent stake in F1 for $US746 million, paid for in cash to the existing owners of Delta Topco — the holding company of Formula One.

Those owners are:

  • CVC (38.1 per cent) — A private equity firm that invests its clients’ money by buying out businesses and attempting to raise their performance, generally before selling them or listing them on the share market
  • Waddell & Reed (20.5 per cent) — A US-based asset management firm
  • LBI (12.1 per cent)
  • Bambino Holdings (8.4 per cent) — The Ecclestone family trust
  • Norges (4.1 per cent) — The Norwegian sovereign wealth fund
  • Bernie Ecclestone (3.3 per cent) — The man who’s effectively controlled F1 for almost 40 years
  • Management (2.8 per cent)
  • Other (10.6 per cent)

However, once the second stage of the deal goes through Liberty Media will not only own Formula One, but will actually become Formula One — changing its name to Formula One Group (with the share market ticker FWON).

And it isn’t like the existing owners of F1 will just disappear with some cash.

The second part of the deal involves another $US350 million or so worth of cash, but most of the payment to F1’s existing owners will be in newly issued Liberty Media shares.

In fact, F1’s existing owners will have a near 65 per cent economic stake in the new Formula One Group (what is currently Liberty Media), although their shares are non-voting, so the current Liberty shareholders will have control of the business.

 

The first stage of the deal has already been done, with Liberty now already holding its 18.7 per cent stake, while the final stage is expected to complete in the first few months of 2017.

Although the final stage of the deal is subject to approval from competition regulators, approval by Liberty shareholders (which include Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway) and the go-ahead from motorsport’s top governing body, the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA).


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Why F1 Does Not Rock It’s Like Rolling Stones Without Jagger Says Bernie Ecclestone

“We are not putting on a very good show, Imagine if people turned up to watch the Rolling Stones and Mick (Jagger) couldn’t sing and the others couldn’t play their instruments.” – Bernie Ecclestone

 

Well Bernie has the Stone in his name all he needs now is my jacket, and then it’s rock’n roll in F1?

The 85-year-old F1 supremo in Bahrain likened the sport to a rock concert at which the band turned up but could not perform.

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Twists and Turns Case for Formula One Chief – United States Grand Prix 2013

Bernie Ecclestone arrives in the paddock with his wife Fabiana Flosi, United States Grand Prix, Austin, November 14, 2013 © Getty Images
Bernie Ecclestone arrives in the paddock with his wife Fabiana Flosi, United States Grand Prix, Austin, November 14, 2013 © Getty Images

11 Formula One teams are in Austin, Texas, where the penultimate round of this year’s 19-race championship will take place Sunday, it was not the domination of the German driver Sebastian Vettel, winner of 11 of this year’s races and a strong favorite in Austin, that spurred the most fevered talk among grand prix racing insiders.

Instead, it was about an old friend of mine Bernie Ecclestone, the 83-year-old billionaire who is the ringmaster of Formula One. What a circus he has built. Ecclestone, faces in coming months two civil cases, in Munich and New York, and a possible criminal trial in Germany are also on the horizon, all related to allegations of fraud by Ecclestone in the 2006 sale of Formula One’s commercial rights.

A verdict in the London case is expected next spring. If it goes against Ecclestone, it could force a quick end to the iron-fisted control he has built since entering the sport as a team owner in the 1970s. That has alarmed those in Formula One who credit him with turning the sport into the globe-spanning financial bonanza it has become in the last 25 years.

Others have been encouraged by the sweeping changes they believe would be possible in a post-Ecclestone era, including new rules for profit-sharing by the teams that would end the era of cloistered, billion-dollar agreements and secret payments into Swiss bank accounts that have been exposed in the London court. Those deals have effectively stripped Formula One over the past decade of control of its own affairs, handing the sport’s ownership — and billions in profits — to outside investors, and enabling Ecclestone to accumulate a personal fortune of at least $4 billion. They have also left all but 4 of the 11 teams that will compete at Austin — Ferrari, McLaren, Mercedes-Benz and Red Bull — flirting with bankruptcy on a race-to-race basis.

One team, Lotus, has admitted that it has been unable to pay Kimi Raikkonen, a former world champion who is the team’s lead driver, any of the $15 million it owes him for the 17 races he has contested this year.

This is the mood set, and in the paddock let me tell you gossip runs hotter than some engines, all eyes, and ears are open so look out what you say and whom you say it to.

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