With his bribery case gone away after a $100-milion payment to the
coffers of Germany, Bernie Ecclestone has returned to the
helm of F1’s commercial arm, FOM.
And those who revelled in his legal woes might want to beware.
A report in the Independent newspaper quoted the 83-year-old F1
ringmaster as saying that he’s “in a position where I have got a little bit more time and I shall follow my old idea in life, ‘don’t get mad, get even’. I haven’t got mad but I’m going to get even.”
Maybe it’s just bluster from the sport’s de facto dictator but if there’s any truth here, it would be difficult to think of anything the sport needs less than Mr. E looking to get even with those who he feels were on the wrong side of his recent court battles.
The challenges facing F1 today are huge and bluntly speaking there are
many more important places where Mr. E should be focussing his concern, and a personal vendetta is not one of them.
It’s controlled by an investment firm that doesn’t care about racing and is only interested in Return on Investment so it’s sucking all the
money out of the sport, F1’s television audience is falling, grandstand seats are going empty, the grid if filled with drivers whose main qualification is the size of their wallets, several teams are on life support, and it is headed to a controversial race in Russia as that country continues to meddle in Ukraine.
All that aside, the biggest question surrounding F1 and its leadership
these days should be thinking about succession planning. Any solid company has such a plan because you need to ensure that everything runs smoothly just in case something untoward happens. For example, if there are bribery charge pending against your leader and there’s a possibility that he/she could end up in jail.
Most reasonable corporations start thinking about this many years before there’s any need for a switch at the top, but even with its octogenarian leader obviously having significantly fewer days ahead than behind, it appears on the surface at least that F1 hasn’t even considered who would step into the commercial role when Mr. E goes.