Formula 1 head honcho Bernie Ecclestone is 85, and while he’s still showing no signs of slowing down, he won’t be around forever. Few people know the sport like Bernie, so Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne is calling on him to formulate a plan for the sport’s future to ensure its health following his departure.
Speaking to Racer, Marchionne said Ecclestone needs to develop a working exit strategy for Formula 1, as they have an obligation to the FIA and the FOM (Formula One Management) to have sound, solid management.
“He needs to come up with a system where maybe some responsibilities can be developed differently,” Marchionne said. “We have a responsibility to deliver a certain level of sound management continuity of Formula 1 with FIA and with FOM. So we really need to make the most of Bernie’s ability to develop this sport in the best possible way. Believe me, it is not easy.
“Bernie is quite a character, but he is a very nice guy and has an incredible strength. I don’t know what I will do when I’m his age. What he has done over the last 10 years is incredible – and he’s still there.”
Recently, Scuderia Ferrari became upset with Ecclestone and FIA president Jean Todt as they moved to gain more control over Formula 1 and potentially introduce a standardized engine as a cheaper option to more cash-strapped teams. Despite this, Marchionne still trusts Ecclestone to come up with a proper plan to ensure F1 stays exciting and attracts new fans.
“Bernie should pave the way to prepare the future of the F1 world,” said Marchionne. “This age issue is there, so we should ask ourselves: are we appealing to young people?
“This sport has great potential which has not been expressed yet. We need to make it entertaining because if everything is predictable, it gets boring. We should try to deliver more unpredictability, so to speak, so that results are unpredictable.”