Formula 1 CEO Chase Carey has sharply criticised what he saw as the negative mindset of the sport’s previous ownership under Bernie Ecclestone, indicating their attitude only damaged the marketability of their product.
Carey, replaced Ecclestone as part of Liberty Media’s takeover of F1 in January 2017, suggested that the former supremo and his cohorts were far too content to criticise without offering any solutions.
“There were things that the sport needed to get on top of that it hasn’t,” he told Autosport, using rising costs as an example of an issue his predecessors failed to address.
Additionally, he highlighted Ecclestone’s scornful reception to the introduction of V6 hybrid-turbo engines in 2014.
“I’ve talked about the hybrid engine and the incredible technology involved in it, and yet the years preceding us mostly was all people crapping on it as opposed to saying: ‘This is the most efficient engine, it’s an incredible piece of technology,’ and it was really a step for the sport to deal with an important issue.”
Being so forthright such criticisms, Carey suggested the Ecclestone regime hurt interest from would-be race holders, something that Liberty has been successful in reversing.
“There were questions about the promoter side of our business, and I think the strength of that [currently] has been indicated and been a real positive,” he said.
“I think it is a sign of the interest in the sport, the interest that is there that wasn’t being tapped into because the sport wasn’t doing things that you need it to do.
“The sport had gotten a little too critical of itself, as I said, crapping on the engines, Bernie saying ‘I wouldn’t buy a ticket’.
“It’s complaining, not fixing.”
“There were problems, but there wasn’t enough action to address the problems, like the costs.”
“Usually in life, if you’ve got issues, you fix them.”
Since taking over as CEO, Carey has led F1 in a new commercial and technical direction, with the launch of a Netflix documentary series, an online streaming service, races in Vietnam and the Netherlands, and from 2021, a complete overhaul of the regulations.