The American firm Liberty Media has confirmed its purchase of Formula 1 for ?3.3bn with Bernie Ecclestone remaining as chief executive.

The deal comes after weeks of speculation with rumours the Italian Grand Prix would be Ecclestone's final race in charge of the sport.

Yesterday, the 85-year-old said he has been asked to remain involved in F1 for three years once the purchase had been officially confirmed.

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With the F1 supremo staying in place, Chase Carey - current executive vice chairman of 21st Century Fox - has been instated as the new chairman replacing Peter Brabeck-Letmathe.

The new ownership sees equity firm CVC Capital Partners sell its controlling share of the sport to Liberty Media headed by US television mogul John Malone.

Liberty Media, who also own several sports and media companies including the Atlanta Braves in Major League Baseball, will initially purchase a minority stake in F1 (estimated at ?559m) before a full takeover is given the green light by regulators approving the deal.

Once the full deal is completed, Liberty Media will become the majority shareholder with 35.5% while CVC will retain a 24.7% share.

The total buyout is estimated to be at ?6bn which includes the ?3.1bn debt F1 current carries.

"We are excited to become part of Formula One," Greg Maffei, chief executive of Liberty Media, said. "We think our long-term perspective and expertise with media and sports assets will allow us to be good stewards of Formula One and benefit fans, teams and our shareholders."

"I would like to welcome Liberty Media and Chase Carey to Formula One and I look forward to working with them," Ecclestone said.

Liberty Media President and CEO Greg Maffei added: "We think our long-term perspective and expertise with media and sports assets will allow us to be good stewards of F1 and benefit fans, teams and our shareholders.

"We look forward to working closely with Chase Carey and Bernie Ecclestone to support the next phase of growth for this hugely popular global sport."

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The deal marks the end of the CVC's majority ownership of Formula One over the past decade in which the sport has suffered from falling television audiences while still producing huge revenue for rights holders and teams.

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