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What Bernie was building was one of the greatest sporting event superseded only by The Olympics and The World Cup.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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Williams F1 Dom Pérignon and Damon Hill Glory Beer Days

Damon Hill World Champion Formula One Driver If you lived in Los Angels you become aware that at any given moment you could loose everything. It’s nature, earthquakes, mudslides, or fires and all is gone sometimes in a blink. What you can walk away with is memories of what great moments life has presented you woven full of colours like a rich tapestry.

The late CEO of a Canadian beer company Labatt’s had a passion for formula one racing and so we got along famously. The drivers we sponsored all became world champion formula one drivers in what I call the glory beer days of Williams F1 team. This is not to say we did not indulge in Dom Pérignon after all it’s formula one racing we are talking about.

At the British Grand Prix this weekend Williams F1 team marks it’s 600 Grand Prix race and that is one amazing accomplishment rich in history and they will be breaking open many bottles of Dom Pérignon.

Damon Hill will be present as well several drivers of the Williams F1 team at Silverstone.

Damon Hill is the son of the late Graham Hill, and is the only son of a world champion to win the title. His father died in an aeroplane crash when Hill was 15. He started racing on motorbikes in 1981 and after minor success, he moved on to single-seater racing cars and progressed steadily up the ranks to the International Formula 3000 championship by 1989, where, although often competitive, he never won a race.

Hill became a test driver for the Formula One title-winning Williams team in 1992. He was promoted to the Williams race team the following year after Riccardo Patrese’s departure and took the first of his 22 victories at the 1993 Hungarian Grand Prix. During the mid-1990s, Hill was Michael Schumacher’s main rival for the Formula One Drivers’ Championship. The two clashed on and off the track. Their collision at the 1994 Australian Grand Prix gaveDamon Hill Schumacher his first title by a single point. Hill became champion in 1996 but was dropped by Williams for the following season. He went on to drive for the less competitive Arrows and Jordan teams, and in 1998 gave Jordan its first win.

Damon Hill is one very talented person whom I have seen play guitar and rock on stage, race with Labatt beer logo all over him and the Williams team, as well has contributed in part to my sponsored polo team who won the Damon Hill Cup of which I am very proud.

I once flew with Damon Hill and his wife from London to Monaco for the Grand Prix and invited some of his friends who at the time worked with him for drinks. The drink was Dom Pérignon and the best spot to drink it in South of France which could be anywhere, but in this case at Chateau de la Chevre d’Or the best spot for a bottle or two of Dom Pérignon Rose.

At the Canadian Grand Prix I presented Damon Hill the former formula one World Champion and rock’n musician guitarist with a guitar pic from The Rolling Stones as they were also in town or as Mick Jagger said at the concert “The Grand Prix is a warm up”.

 

What did Damon Hill do with The Rolling Stones guitar pic.  He gave me one rock’n photograph.  A toast to Damon Hill and greatest of memories.

Damon Hill, The Rolling Stones guitar pic, photo by Timothy Khan

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