Bernie Ecclestone admits he knows what’s wrong with Formula One — but he can’t fix it on his own any more.
Two decades after Ron Dennis greeted Eddie Jordan by quipping “welcome to the Piranha Club” and four since Ecclestone took control to build one of global sport’s first TV-based cash machines, F1 faces a crisis that may signal the end of the Ecclestone era and F1 in its modern image.
The sport’s 84-year-old commercial ringmaster, who was the designer of the original Concorde Agreements that bound together the teams and the ruling body, has blamed himself for the current financial crisis that has reduced the grid for Sunday’s United States Grand Prix to 18 cars. It is the smallest grid in a decade, amid fears of a further cut to 12 or 14 next year. And he has suggested that the sport’s biggest and richest teams now have to dig into their own pockets to help rescue the strugglers before F1 is left on the brink of a major meltdown.
“The problem is there is too much money probably being distributed badly — probably my fault,” Ecclestone told reporters in the Circuit of the Americas paddock late on Saturday.