A motorsports era comes to an end today. The sale of Formula 1 to Liberty Media Corporation and Delta Topco has been completed, and as a result the series' longtime impresario Bernie Ecclestone no longer holds the reigns.
The sale was announced in September of 2016, and sees Liberty Media Corporation acquiring 100 percent of shares in F1. In a release, F1 says the brand has an enterprise value of $8 billion with an equity value of $4.4 billion. Liberty Media will be renamed Formula One Group and will by the ticker symbol FWON. The new owners have appointed Chase Carey as F1's CEO, replacing Ecclestone, who becomes F1's Chairman Emeritus. That title, Ecclestone told Auto Motor und Sport, is mostly honorary.
"I am excited to be taking on the additional role of CEO. F1 has huge potential with multiple untapped opportunities," Carey said in a release. "I have enjoyed hearing from the fans, teams, FIA, promoters and sponsors on their ideas and hopes for the sport. We will work with all of these partners to enhance the racing experience and add new dimensions to the sport and we look forward to sharing these plans overtime.
"I would like to recognize and thank Bernie for his leadership over the decades. The sport is what it is today because of him and the talented team of executives he has led, and he will always be part of the F1 family. Bernie's role as Chairman Emeritus befits his tremendous contribution to the sport and I am grateful for his continued insight and guidance as we build F1 for long-term success and the enjoyment of all those involved."
The enthusiasm for F1's future was echoed by Ecclestone, who said:
"I'm proud of the business that I built over the last 40 years and all that I have achieved with Formula 1, and would like to thank all of the promoters, teams, sponsors and television companies that I have worked with. I'm very pleased that the business has been acquired by Liberty and that it intends to invest in the future of F1. I am sure that Chase will execute his role in a way that will benefit the sport."
In addition to Ecclestone's replacement, F1's new owners made a few other notable appointments. Ross Brawn, former owner of World Championship-winning team Brawn GP, was named managing director, Motor Sports. Meanwhile, Sean Bratches, former executive vice president of sales and marketing for ESPN, has been appointed Managing Director, Commercial Operations.
Brawn has 40 years of engineering and management experience in professional racing, with 22 FIA World Championships and one 24 Hours of Le Mans win under his belt. Bratches has more than 27 years of experience with ESPN, where he oversaw primary revenue streams, advertising and sponsor sales, content licensing, and also ran the research and analytics division.
Ecclestone's long tenure as Formula 1 chief remains controversial, but the CEO's presence was one constant in a continually changing sport. It's unknown how the series will change under new management. We'll find out when the 2017 Formula 1 season gets underway this March, starting with the Australian Grand Prix.
Source: Formula 1, Auto Motor und Sport