Former Formula 1 deputy race director Herbie Blash says the ‘new brigade’ have made an impressive start to the new era of the sport but has ruled out Bernie Ecclestone walking away quietly.

Blash stepped away from F1 as FIA deputy race director to Charlie Whiting after 21 consecutive years of service at the end of the 2016 season, with Laurent Mekies taking up the role this season, with Blash having spent five decades working in the sport starting in 1965 with Lotus before moving on to take charge of the Brabham team as well as a senior role at Yamaha.

After opting to ‘retire’ from F1, Blash is now working as a director in the Yamaha World Superbike team plus a number of other roles including an advisor to a FIA programme aiming to train future race directors.

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Blash, albeit unintentionally, has been part of the outgoing old guard in F1 over the past 12 months with Ron Dennis departing from McLaren and Bernie Ecclestone being deposed from his role in charge of the commercial side of F1 by new owners Liberty.

The former F1 deputy race director says he’s kept a keen eye on the changes Liberty has installed since taking control at the start of 2017 and supports its new direction.

“It is still early days but from what the new owners are talking about, like opening up the paddock, being more fan friendly and dealing with social media is positive which with Bernie it wasn’t happening,” Blash told Crash.net. “I believe opening up F1 will be beneficial to the sport.

“Bernie said himself his role was to make money and he was one of the reasons along with CVC which did an excellent job and for why the sport was sold for what it was. You have to take off your hat on that.

“But Bernie wasn’t working for the fans he was working for the company CVC. The current owners are coming in with a different mindset altogether and it’ll be interesting to watch. Obviously they are new to Formula 1 but having Ross Brawn they’ve got someone who has seen and knows about the sport. I think it is going in the right direction.”

Asked whether he thought long-time ally Ecclestone has given him any insight into his future plans Blash steered clear of speculating but doesn’t believe the F1 supremo will walk away altogether.

“Let’s just say an upset Bernie is a dangerous Bernie,” he said.

Reflecting on the new vision of F1 throughout the paddock, Blash says teams are more aware and preparing measures to sustain the sport’s future which has become a key talking point since Liberty’s arrival and its planned overhaul to reignite interest in a younger audience.

“The whole world of Formula 1 in some aspects has changed,” he said. “The new brigade has arrived. I would class Toto Wolff in as one of those new guys, like Maurizio Arrivabene at Ferrari even though he has been involved at Marlboro for many years. The new guard has taken over from the old guard there is no doubt about that.”