All change in F1 as Liberty take the wheel

 

By Lee Dolbear

  • New chief of Formula One ends the Ecclestone era
  • Reports of Bernie ‘breakaway’
  • Bottas replaces World Champion Rosberg
Changes afoot in Formula One as Bernie Ecclestone steps down, and Valtteri Bottas replaces Nico Rosberg at Mercedes.

 

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After almost 40 years at the helm, Bernie Ecclestone is no longer in charge of F1. Liberty Media officially completed it’s takeover on Monday with Chase Carey taking charge of the global sport.

 

Ecclestone was quoted in a Liberty statement saying: “I’m proud of the business that I built over the last 40 years and all that I have achieved with Formula 1, and would like to thank all of the promoters, teams, sponsors and television companies that I have worked with.

“I’m very pleased that the business has been acquired by Liberty and that it intends to invest in the future of F1.

“I am sure that Chase will execute his role in a way that will benefit the sport.”

According to reports today it is thought that Ecclestone is planning a breakaway rival to F1 which could be up and running by 2019.

Joining Carey will be Sean Bratches, a former ESPN executive, he has been appointed managing director, commercial operations. Ross Brawn, the former Ferrari and Mercedes chief, has returned to Formula 1 as motorsport managing director as part of the sport’s new management structure.

There has also been changes in personnel at the big teams, most notably at Mercedes.

Lewis Hamilton has a new team mate at Mercedes after Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas switches from Williams, he replaces the now retired World Champion Nico Rosberg after he decided to end his F1 career on top of the world.

“We did the contract today and obviously I’ve been dreaming for a long time to drive for a team like this, a team of champions,” Bottas told Sky as he was unveiled to Mercedes’ workforce.

“So I’m really proud to be part of this and proud of what you’ve achieved in the last few years but also in the whole history of Formula 1. It’s mega to be driving a Silver Arrow myself this year.

“I can’t wait to start working properly. There is still enough time until testing to get everything sorted. My goal for the first race is to get all the points available that there’s absolutely possible in the car.

“I’m still missing my first win, so that’s the first mission.”

 

With a space at Williams up for grabs, Felipe Massa decided to do a U-turn on his November retirement and will join 18 year old newcomer Lance Stroll. Another man on the teams merry go round is Pascal Wehrlein, his move from Manor (whose future is still in doubt) to Sauber sees him team up with Marcus Ericsson.

So with 59 days to go until the traditional opener in Australia on March 26th every teams line up has been confirmed with the exception of Manor, who are in administration because of money shortages and the lack of any backers coming forward. The teams will be unveiling their new 2017 cars in late February followed by testing in Barcelona Feb 27 – Mar 2 and again March 7-10.

The F1 season starts in Australia, 24-26 March.

 

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