Ecclestone: F1 needs to ‘reshape’ things – freeze rules for three years

Bernie Ecclestone believes Liberty Media needs to “reshape” Formula 1 to help mitigate the costly effects of the crisis sparked by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ecclestone admitted that the sport’s current plight represents an existential threat to F1 as teams and promoters alike face the prospect of an unprecedented collapse in revenue.

The 89-year-old former supremo, who built Formula 1 into a global sporting powerhouse, is pessimistic on the sport’s outlook for this year, even admitting that he would consider an outright cancellation of the entire season if he was still at the helm.

But looking ahead, he insists that commercial rights holder Liberty Media will need to shake up things to ensure F1’s survival.

    Ecclestone calls on F1 to abandon 2020 season

“In older times when people didn’t have such big staff and they ran into problems I’d always bail them out, give them a while to hand me the cash back — or sometimes we forgot to collect the money. Now it’s different scale money,” Ecclestone told the Daily Mail’s Jonathan McEvoy.

“I would say: we think F1 is a good business and then put a big, big chunk of money behind it — to say, this is what we will invest in it.

“I would buy all the promoters, who do a super job, take the risk from them. I’d then be in charge of running the races. That would be the first thing.

“Then I would try to preserve the teams. I’d talk to them in a very nice way: tell them to change the way they operate. Tell them they are spending too much money — no, you’re wasting too much money. These bloody great motorhomes, for example. This is where sometimes egos get in the way.”

Formula 1 has delayed the introduction of its regulation overhaul until 2021, to help decrease immediate costs for the teams. But Ecclestone would go even further in terms of revamping the sport.

“I wouldn’t change the rules for three years,” he said. “Liberty need to completely reshape things.

“The biggest change I would make is to create a teams’ championship. You would still have the drivers’ championship for everyone and a constructors’ championship for the big four or whatever.

“Then I would give the less well-off teams two chassis, two engines for the season and let them run for £30m a year.

“I would then have rules and regulations — taking in the weight of the cars and engine capacity — that I knew full well meant the teams with that sort of budget would have a good chance of getting on the podium and with luck win a race.

“At the end of the year the team that has done best on that budget would win the teams’ championship.”

Finally, asked whether he would ever consider buying back F1 and taking it off Liberty’s hands?

“No chance,” he quipped emphatically.

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