New F1 chairman and CEO Chase Carey says a new management structure was needed prior to his first season in charge of the sport as he explained his reasons for axing long-time figurehead Bernie Ecclestone.
With less than two months to go until the start of the 2017 season, it was announced yesterday that Ecclestone would be replaced by Carey as chief executive alongside his pre-existing chairman role.
The end of an era for one of the sport's most enduring figures, though management changes were always anticipated following Liberty Media's takeover in September, many had expected it to come later in the year.
However, Carey explained to Sky Sports F1
that he wanted to get a new management structure – which includes Ross Brawn and Sean Bratches - in place before the start of the season to allow them time to grow together.
Furthermore, he felt Ecclestone wouldn't have benefitted from the sweeping changes set to be implemented in the coming years having ruled the sport as a 'one-man show' for several decades.
“I think the reality is that Bernie has really ran the business as a one-man show. That's not a criticism, it's just the reality. Bernie has run it relatively alone... there is a team there, certainly give them credit for what they've done to help but Ross has really got respect across this business.
"I have yet to meet somebody that hasn't brought him up as somebody that would be invaluable as an addition to Formula 1, even when they didn't know this was happening.
"I had an endless list of people that would put Ross Brawn at the top as somebody that they think would be a wonderful addition to the Formula 1 organisation.”
Indeed, despite the manner of his abrupt exit – and the firm words that followed from Ecclestone himself -, Carey insists there remains respect between the two.
"For sure. Let me be clear, that respect was sincere. Bernie deserves enormous credit for the business that has been built over the last number of decades and realistically it just got sold for $8 billion, so the ultimate proof in the value he created is there for all to see,"
“But he has unique insights in the business, he understands it probably better than anyone else, his advice will be invaluable. He has been helpful to me to date and I look forward to his advice as we go forward."
"For sure. Bernie has run this business the majority of his adult life. When he's run it for the period he's run it I certainly understand that the change is going to be difficult for him and create challenges for him. “
"But hopefully we'll find a way that it continues to be rewarding for him. I want him to feel good about it. He will always be part of the Formula 1 family, he will always be welcome, and I want to try and make this something he can continue to feel part of. But it's a big change for him and I understand that."