Ecclestone: Liberty musn't ignore Mercedes/Ferrari breakaway threat

Bernie Ecclestone has warned Formula 1 owner Liberty Media not to dismiss the threat of a breakaway championship being set up by Ferrari and Mercedes

Ecclestone: Liberty musn't ignore Mercedes/Ferrari breakaway threat

With F1's biggest teams questioning some of Liberty's plans for F1 beyond 2020, talk of a rebel series has emerged once again.

While there would be significant hurdles for the manufacturers to overcome, Ecclestone believes Liberty would be foolish to ignore the possibility of a plan being put together.

"Talking to people like Sergio [Marchionne] and Toto [Wolff], they are not idiots," Ecclestone told Autosport.

"They will weigh up whether it's better for everyone to leave and do their own series, or do we need the FIA to look over things? So people will start to think what to do.

"The trouble now is that Sergio has come out and said, 'The next time I see you, I'm going to punch you in the face'.

"And when he sees the people, he's got to be sure that he's going to punch them in the face.

"Sergio is not the guy that makes threats as a joke and then runs away from it."

While F1 is bracing itself for negotiations in the coming months about future rules, a new prize money structure and cost cutting, Red Bull boss Christian Horner believes it would be wrong to think Liberty will be a push over.

"People under-rate Liberty," Horner told Autosport. "They have paid $8billion for a business.

"They are marketing people, TV people. Sport for them is entertainment, it is about engagement with the fans. Creating a better experience for the viewer and the fan.

"What they need to get right, and where they have clear ideas, is what the product should be for 2021.

"I think their challenge is that they don't have alignment with the FIA and it is at odds with some of the teams.

"They have spent a colossal amount of money on it and have a huge amount invested in it - so it is not about what is right for individual teams or for the FIA.

"It has got to be what is right for the sport, and then it is down to the teams and whether they want to play or not.

"The problem with that process is that you are never going to keep everyone happy."

McLaren executive director Zak Brown said in Australia he hoped looming talks and politicking did not damage F1's image.

"I think Formula 1 is going to go through a great growth spurt, but negotiations for the new Concorde Agreement are going to be fireworks like we've never seen before," he said.

"Those have already started, but they'll become more public.

"We need to make sure the corporate community isn't turned off and concerned by 'is this team going to leave, is that team going to leave, is this race going to go?'

"Because it will all be a negotiation that will get pretty dramatic from here until we reach a new [agreement]."

shares
comments
Red Bull believes its RB14 F1 chassis is 'absolutely ahead' of rivals

Previous article

Red Bull believes its RB14 F1 chassis is 'absolutely ahead' of rivals

Next article

Force India reveals season-long flip-flop sponsor for F1 halo

Force India reveals season-long flip-flop sponsor for F1 halo
Load comments
How F1's biggest crisis helped trigger its exciting 2021 season Plus

How F1's biggest crisis helped trigger its exciting 2021 season

Formula 1's return to Austria this weekend comes under exceedingly different circumstances to its last Spielberg visit, when F1 took its first tentative steps out of the global COVID shutdown. But the tightrope F1 walked in 2020 has ultimately led to the most exciting season of the hybrid era

Can Red Bull really win anywhere now it’s toppled a Mercedes F1 stronghold? Plus

Can Red Bull really win anywhere now it’s toppled a Mercedes F1 stronghold?

OPINION: Red Bull team boss Christian Horner reckoned Max Verstappen winning the French Grand Prix – an event where Mercedes had previously been dominant – would signal “we can beat them anywhere”. Here’s how that claim stacks up looking at the rest of the 2021 season

Formula 1
Jun 23, 2021
The IndyCar feature that Paul Ricard desperately needs in F1 Plus

The IndyCar feature that Paul Ricard desperately needs in F1

OPINION: The French Grand Prix offered a surprisingly interesting spectacle, despite the headache-inducing nature of the circuit. But IndyCar's Road America race offered far more in terms of action - and the increased jeopardy at the Elkhart Lake venue might be something Paul Ricard needs in future...

Formula 1
Jun 22, 2021
French Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

French Grand Prix Driver Ratings

The French GP was a weekend decided by tiny margins both at the front of the field, as Red Bull inflicted a comeback defeat on Mercedes, and in the battle for the minor points places. That's reflected in our driver ratings, where several drivers came close to a maximum score

Formula 1
Jun 21, 2021
How Red Bull took French GP "payback" on a day of Mercedes mistakes Plus

How Red Bull took French GP "payback" on a day of Mercedes mistakes

The French GP has been a stronghold for Mercedes since Paul Ricard's return to the calendar in 2018. But that all changed on Sunday, as a clever two-stop strategy guided Red Bull's Max Verstappen to make a race-winning pass on the penultimate lap - for once leaving Mercedes to experience the pain of late defeat it has so often inflicted on Red Bull

Formula 1
Jun 21, 2021
The new age of sponsorship facilitated by F1’s relevancy push Plus

The new age of sponsorship facilitated by F1’s relevancy push

The age of the high-profile title sponsor is over, says JONATHAN NOBLE, but Formula 1’s commitment to technological innovation is attracting high-tech partners

Formula 1
Jun 20, 2021
How Britain’s lost Ferrari star epitomised a bygone F1 era Plus

How Britain’s lost Ferrari star epitomised a bygone F1 era

The 1956 Italian Grand Prix was over for Juan Manuel Fangio, along with his hopes of winning the world championship – until his Ferrari team-mate (and title rival) voluntarily surrendered his own car so Fangio could continue. NIGEL ROEBUCK recalls Peter Collins, a remarkable sportsman

Formula 1
Jun 19, 2021
The 'surprise' Mercedes time that puts F1's victory fight back on a knife-edge in France Plus

The 'surprise' Mercedes time that puts F1's victory fight back on a knife-edge in France

Red Bull led the way after the first two practice sessions for the 2021 French Grand Prix, but only just ahead of Mercedes. There was all the usual practice skulduggery complicating the performance picture, but one aspect seen at the world champion squad gave it a ‘surprise’ lift, as it looks to leave its street-circuit struggles firmly in the past

Formula 1
Jun 18, 2021