Bernie Ecclestone has admitted that his future in Formula 1 is now uncertain after the FIA approved the sale of the sport to Liberty Media.
Ecclestone has played an integral role in elevating Formula 1 into one of the most-watched sporting events around the world, with the single-seater championship generating revenue in excess of $1.5 billion every year.
However, the 86-year-old’s tenure as F1’s ringmaster has now been cast into doubt, with new owners Liberty Media keen on reshuffling the management of the sport.
"We will have to see how we set the company up," Ecclestone told Press Association Sport when asked if he will continue as CEO. "It is not a case of my terms, it is a case of let's have a look and see which way they would like to go.
"It is something that would have happened anyway. We need to put something together if I am not here because I have become deceased or something and it is about time we did that.
"We were in the middle [of that] and when we knew these people were probably going to buy we backed off and thought 'let's wait because they own the company and it is up to them to decide who or what they want'."
Formula 1’s governing body FIA approved the purchase in an extraordinary World Motor Sport Council meeting this week, clearing another hurdle for Liberty Media.
But Ecclestone believes it was a mere formality for the FIA, whose power has been significantly reduced after formation of the Strategy Group.
"They [the FIA] didn't have any choice," Ecclestone said. "They had no way they could not approve, unless the people that were going to come in were bandits
"The only reason we had the meeting is because we wanted changes to the FOM [Formula One Management] contract -- little changes -- and they were all approved. No dramas.
"I think that [the deal] should happen within the next three or four weeks."
Liberty Media’s approach is in stark contrast to that of previous owners CVC Capital, which was exclusively interested in eking out money from F1.
While financial gain is also high of Liberty’s agenda, it has a long-term vision for the sport. The media house is keen on expanding F1’s base in America, while ensuring that the sport sticks to its traditional routes in Europe.
It has appointed 21st Century Fox’s Vice Chairman Chase Carey as F1’s executive and is also in search of a leading figure to lead the series’ marketing side.
by Rachit Thukral