Mercedes motorsport chief Toto Wolff has heralded the dawn of the new Liberty Media era of Formula 1, but has also praised the role of outgoing supremo Bernie Ecclestone who turned the sport into the mega-business that it it today.
In an interview on the Mercedes F1 team’s website, Wolff said, “We must pay tribute to Bernie. It’s quite amazing, being 40 years at the helm of a sport. He spotted the opportunity that Formula One had the potential to become what it is today.”
“He had the vision and he built an empire. He has a great ability of-deal making: he just executes.”
“In terms of my personal experience, I wouldn’t be in Formula One without Bernie. He supported me back in the day at Williams and, even if we had some ups and downs with Mercedes, it always stayed very amicable. We had a good relationship – although we disagreed on the business side. But that’s how it should be.”
“When you stay at the top of an organisation as long as Bernie did, it is clear that it will be shaped in your image. He had the great ability of always being present. When there was a fire somewhere, even one that he might have ignited, he put it out quickly.”
“With the change of ownership, it will now take a new direction. It’s going to be different than it was in the past. Now, we have to make the most out of it and grasp the opportunity,” added Wolff.