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#Business, #Sport : Ecclestone's kingdom is going to end

Bernie Ecclestone has been overthrown as Formula One’s overlord, a victim of the sport’s £6billion buyout by American conglomerate Liberty Media. 

The 86-year-old, who could make around £300million from the deal, told Sportsmail: ‘I have been deposed.’

His place will be taken by Chase Carey, a 62-year-old American businessman and vice-chairman of 21st Century Fox Media.

Bernie Ecclestone, pictured in Austria at the weekend, has lost his position as F1 chief

Ecclestone, who was in charge for nearly 40 years, was relieved from his duties on Monday

Ecclestone said he had been asked to stay on for three years but Liberty want a revamp

Chase Carey (centre) is the new chief with Sean Bratches (left) as commercial operations director and Ross Brawn as sports director

Liberty confirmed: ‘Chase Carey has been appointed chief executive officer of F1.’

Ecclestone, who had led F1 for nearly 40 years, has been appointed chairman emeritus and will advise the board.

For 40 years Bernie Ecclestone bestrode Formula One as a diminutive dictator. But on Monday night a conference call ended his rule of an empire. 

He walked into one of the rooms in his Knightsbridge offices in late evening, linked up with the sport’s new American owners Liberty Media and a reign that often seemed impregnable was finally over.

The day-to-day running of the billion-dollar business will instead be conducted by Chase Carey, a 62-year-old, moustachioed American who has spent the last five months moving towards Monday’s landmark decision.

The day-to-day running of the billion-dollar business will be conducted by Carey

Former Ferrari chief Brawn (right) also comes in as motor sports director

‘I have been deposed,’ said Ecclestone. ‘You will have to wait to see who did what to whom, how the decision was made. But I am not running the company any more, that’s for sure.’

Liberty moved fast on Monday night to install the new order under Carey’s command. In come Ross Brawn — former Ferrari technical chief and championship winner with his eponymous team in 2009 — as motor sports director and Sean Bratches — an ESPN executive — as commercial operations director.

The 86-year-old Ecclestone had been on borrowed time since Liberty Media announced in September that they were buying the sport from private equity firm CVC Capital Partners.

Ecclestone claimed Liberty then offered him a three-year contract to stay on as chief executive but, if so, that now seems more clearly than ever to have been a subterfuge for regime change. He would continue only as long as they needed to get their feet under the table.

The 86-year-old's maverick nature didn't seem to fit with the clean image of Liberty Media

Ecclestone alongside Will Smith (centre) and Nicole Sherzinger (right) in Monte Carlo

The deal with Liberty Media was conducted behind Ecclestone’s back by CVC chairman Donald Mackenzie and sprung on Ecclestone at last season’s Italian Grand Prix.

So perturbed was the octogenarian by the news that he called his closest associates to his motorhome in the Monza paddock to tell them it might be the last race he attended.

After further thought, he decided to stick around rather than give up on an obsession he had run like a family business despite selling to CVC in 2005.

But in the last few weeks he was aware his future was no longer his to decide. Instead, he was subject to Carey’s root-and-branch restructuring. When the £6billion buyout was approved last week by the Liberty board and the governing FIA, Carey was free to sideline him.

The deal between CVC and Liberty Media was conducted behind Ecclestone's back


Bernie Ecclestone has been a colourful and often controversial character in the world of Formula One, having ruled over the sport for four decades.

On Silverstone:

'People want to build new circuits around the world and they say: "We'll come to Silverstone and have a look how it's done", and I tell them to stay away'

On Lewis Hamilton:

'I mean it when I say that Lewis is the best champion we have ever had. Look at the job Lewis does outside of the track. He goes on talk shows, red carpets, he carries the Formula 1 brand everywhere in the world.

'For Formula 1 and for me as a promoter, there is no one better'

On Vladimir Putin:

'He's a first-class person. I always supported him. He could control Europe or America; he is able to deal with it. But I think he is very busy. Let him finish what he's doing and then we'll see'

On America's law-makers:

'If you say "Good morning" in America and it's five past 12, you end up with a lawsuit'

On the players during his time at QPR:

'I leave at half-time; by then you can see which way it's going. If you ask me to name five of our team, I couldn't.

There's that guy who scores goals - (Adel) Taarabt. (Wayne) Routledge I've heard of. All bloody nice guys but I don't mix with them so I don't know them well. I don't go in the dressing room. They can walk out of the showers and I feel I've got an inferiority complex'

On when he would be publishing his autobiography:

'The morning after I die. And the first 12 copies go to the Inland Revenue'

On women's fashion:

'You know, I've got one of these wonderful ideas that women should all be dressed in white like all the other domestic appliances'

On Tamara's wedding day:

'I had to do something that upset me. I had to give her away. I'd rather have sold her'

Ecclestone will stay on in an advisory role as ‘chairman emeritus of F1’ but shorn of the responsibility for the deal-striking that turned the sport into a global success story and made him a rich man, conservatively estimated to be worth £2.3billion.

His wealth is a remarkable statement on the entrepreneurial skills of this son of a Suffolk trawlerman-turned second-hand car dealer. He took control of grand prix racing as the leading member of the Formula One Constructors’ Association in the 1970s, seeing the potential of selling television rights for vast sums.

Ecclestone said: ‘I’m proud of the business I built over the last 40 years and would like to thank everyone I have worked with. I am sure Chase will execute his role in a way that will benefit the sport.’

His skills opened doors to the crowned heads of the world, from the reputable to the objectionable. On his office sideboard are pictures of him with Vladimir Putin, co-creator of the Russian Grand Prix and one of several new venues as F1 moved to new markets around the world.

Ecclestone has long spoken of his 'great admiration' for Russia President Vladimir Putin

Ecclestone (left) chats with British driver Lewis Hamilton at the 2015 Bahrain Grand Prix

A regular guest was the former king of Spain, Juan Carlos. Ecclestone kept him waiting while he shared a couple of bottles of champagne with a departing, long-standing journalist at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in November, little knowing, or admitting, it was his own valedictory race in charge.

Ironically, Brawn’s return after a long sabbatical is hardly an appointment of which Ecclestone would approve. They fell out for reasons not entirely explicable and have not spoken for some three years.

Ecclestone was never short of a controversial opinion, saying that woman drivers’ overalls should be white, like domestic appliances. He also said he admired Hitler because he ‘got things done’.

These maverick comments were never going to be in concert with Liberty Media’s clean image. Anyway, Ecclestone was less than four years off 90, not immortal and hardly attuned to the potential of social media.

The former F1 chief posing with his daughters, Tamara (right) and Petra (left) in 2009

Ecclestone is four years off 90, not immortal and not attuned to social media's potential

2016 Formula One champion Nico Rosberg took to Twitter to celebrate the news

Nico Rosberg, who retired from motor racing five days after winning the championship, welcomed the news of Liberty’s takeover.

The German tweeted: ‘Bernie, mega job! But a change has been overdue. Mr. Carey, all the best in making our sport awesome again.’

Carey said: ‘F1 has huge potential with untapped opportunities.’

Formula One is a world of its own, however, and nothing like an ordinary company. Carey, untutored in its wiles, is gambling that he and his team can manage as their own masters.

Ecclestone shares a joke with German racing legend Michael Schumacher in Hungary
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