Formula 1 Enters A New Era

Philip Boeckman Formula One

The King is dead, long live the King.

Just like that, in a lightning quick transfer of power that somewhat belittles Bernie Ecclestone's forty year strangle-hold on Formula One, Liberty Media removed the 84 year old from power and replaced him with their own man; Chase Carey, a CEO with the most American moniker you can think of and a dazzling moustache to boot. 

In a more important appointment, one that assures F1 fans that the sport will remain on track, Ross Brawn will return as Managing Director of Motorsport. In other words, he'll be overseeing the technical aspects, with the expectation that he'll be streamlining rules and regulations to make it more accessible to the 'every-fan'. 

Will Formula One undergo a revolution of sorts? Most likely not. Legally, the sport will not change too drastically until 2020 at the earliest. That is when the current Concorde Agreement, the document that binds teams to the sport and cements every nuance and guideline, expires. For the timebeing, Liberty will likely enforce superficial changes in the form of calendar reshuffles and broadcasting. They have spoken in depth about resurrecting the European heritage of the sport, music to the ears of the traditional fan. The likes of Germany, France and Spain will hopefully rise to dominate the track calendar once more.

That's not to say however, that Asian and American circuits will be frozen out. The issue lies in Ecclestone accepting all and sundry as long as they have the cash to follow. Azerbaijan being handed the 'European GP' last season effectively sums up this 'money-first' approach. Bernie's penchant for cosying up to dictators and autocratic regimes, not least Bahrain, Abu Dhabi and Russian in recent years has damaged the sport's heritage and reputation. The likes of the Argentinean, San Marino, French and German Grand Prix's need to be taken back. 

Additional circuits in the USA are also expected. The current edition in Austin has shown that Formula One can work in North America. The state that NASCAR and its ludicrous points system is in suggests that there is a whole fan base to capture. The American Liberty Media group undoubtedly sense this. A Pacific GP in California, and an Atlantic edition on the East Coast has been mooted. Together with the Austin Grand Prix, three US-based races would be sufficient to grow a market and capture a fan base.

There's been murmurings that Bernie Ecclestone, hastily chucked out of his beloved sport, is contemplating forming a breakaway series to compete with Formula One. The man himself has shut these rumours down, but who would actually be surprised if the old man followed through with his past threat? To make this rogue series a success, he'd need a big team to follow.

Up step Ferrari.

With Liberty Media wanting to enforce a more even distribution of money and earnings to give the smaller teams a chance to firstly survive and then to progress through the field, Ferrari will likely lose a large chunk of what is effectively an 'appearance fee'. Formula One needs Ferrari, and historically Ferrari have needed Formula One. The thought of a split is almost unthinkable, but if the Maranello think they can profit from a breakaway series, they'd do it. This is more likely than not conspiracy talk at this stage; let's wait until 2020 when we'll have a clearer picture of where this sport is headed and what Liberty Media intend to do with it 

Philip Boeckman

Huge fan of @F1 and Motor Racing in general. I blog about anything and everything from the world of Formula 1