This week the F1 world waits for confirmation that Paul Walsh will replace Peter Brabeck-Letmathe as chairman of the board in a move that is expected to send significant shockwaves through the sport.

The story isn't in the replacement of Brabeck-Letmathe, who has been undergoing medical treatment for some time, but in the whispers that Walsh will be given significantly more authority than his predecessor. At last weekend's Autosport Awards, the rumour doing the rounds was that Bernie Ecclestone was about to be shown his marching orders.

Depending on the amount of power given to him, Walsh could be exactly the sort of chairman Formula One needs to navigate the sport through its current choppy waters.

A quick scan of Walsh's corporate achievements reveals a man whose career has involved taking regional or national brands and making them global, as he did with both Haagen-Dazs and Old El Paso in the '80s and '90s. Repackage those regional brands as a niche interest - Formula One, for example... - and it is not hard to see where Walsh's experience might prove useful to the sport.

When chief financial officer of Grand Metropolitan's food division, Walsh was based in the United States, where he learned about the American market, an area in which F1 is sorely lacking. As a businessman, Walsh has the reputation of being fiscally responsible (and appealing to shareholders), a brand builder, and adept at aggressively marketing his core products, other areas in which F1 could do with a little help.

Of course, the addition of one man to the board is unlikely to lead to a sea change in the way the sport is run, but the fact that CVC are said to have been actively courting Walsh for nine months means that Donald Mackenzie et al. are not blind to the ways in which the former Diageo boss' skillset could benefit the sport.

What 2014 demonstrated was that Formula One is currently in desperate need of a strong leader, whether that person is situated in Prince's Gate, the Place de la Concorde, or somewhere else entirely.

While the F1 board members are hardly in a position to dream up technical regulations, 2014's missing leadership was clear through not only the bad publicity we attracted (and in some cases "Ratner"ed ourselves), but also through our inability to properly sell the sport's achievements, two things which in concert would have upped our brand value among potential blue-chip sponsors, but also our market value in that longed-for IPO.

CVC may not have a vested interest in the sporting side of Formula One, but the financial pain suffered this year as a result of mismanagement at every level - plus the negative coverage the sport received following Jules Bianchi's unfortunate accident at the Japanese Grand Prix - will have hit them where it hurt.

By turning to a man who has proved he is adept at making money, and who comes with an understanding of Formula One through his years of exposure via Diageo, CVC know that the board can be entrusted to a safe pair of hands when it comes to steering the sport back into waters safe enough for the forthcoming flotation.

And the icing on the cake? Walsh is known for his belief in corporate social responsibility, and while he is not afraid to make potentially controversial public statements they are more likely to be critiques of government policy than one-liners about Hitler's efficient leadership, or women as domestic appliances.

A good manager and marketer, a canny financial officer, and a man who preaches social responsibility? If Walsh can't make F1 look attractive to potential investors, the sport may be a lost cause.

By Kate Walker

Kate Walker is a senior F1 writer for A member of the F1 travelling circus since 2010, she keeps an eye on the behind the scenes wheeling and dealing that makes Formula One a political melodrama.