Bernie Ecclestone hits 80 with no sign of slowing down

Feature

Bernie Ecclestone, the most powerful man in Formula 1, turn 80 years old today.

He’s been a racing driver, a manager and a team owner. But above all it’s in his role as president of Formula One Management that he exerts far-reaching influence over F1.

As he marks his 80th birthday he shows no sign of slackening the pace, having announced deals to hold F1 races at new venues in the USA and Russia within the next four years.

It would be no small understatement to say Ecclestone’s vision for Formula 1 has not always struck a chord with the sport’s fans.

While his relentless drive to expand the sport has brought many benefits – improved safety standards, enormous worldwide television coverage and huge revenues – it has come as a price.

Team numbers have dwindled – and Ecclestone has hinted the increased grid size the sport has enjoyed this year is likely to fall in the near future.

A new generation of super-circuits have been built in exotic locations at no-expense-spared costs and boast tremendous facilities. But increasingly insipid layouts fail to challenge the drivers or excite the spectators.

And the sport has endured innumerable drawn-out political rows over F1’s revenues.

While 2010 has been a far less politically turbulent year than 2009, hostilities have merely been suspended – they have not ceased.

The Concorde Agreement – the document which sets down, among many other things, how much money the teams receive – is due to be renewed again in 2012.

Negotiations over the complicated three-party arrangement between Ecclestone, the FIA and the teams have never failed to provoke acrimony. Last time the teams threatened to leave and start their own rival championship.

Meanwhile there are rumours the FIA wishes to re-negotiate the terms of the 100-year commercial deal it signed with Ecclestone in 2001.

While Ecclestone hunts for greater resources in an ever-growing roster of countries, other areas of F1’s commercial operations have been neglected. The sport has been woefully slow to embrace new technologies such as the internet and high-definition broadcasts.

No-one would deny the scale of his accomplishment in driving the sport to an ever-larger audience, and the progress that has been made along the way.

And Ecclestone has never shown the slightest interest in making way for a successor or scaling back his workload. As he passes his 80th birthday F1 is still dancing to his tune, as it has been for decades.

Red Bull present Bernie Ecclestone with Zimmer Frame

Here’s some more pictures of the Zimmer Frame Red Bull presented to Bernie Ecclestone at the Korean Grand Prix weekend to mark his 80th birthday:

Bernie Ecclestone

Images ?Ú?« Red Bull/Getty images

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38 comments on Bernie Ecclestone hits 80 with no sign of slowing down

  1. Faraz said on 28th October 2010, 18:15

    HE HAS THE SAME BIRTHDAY AS ME ITS MY BIRTHDAY TODAY OBVIOUSLY IM MUCH YOUNGER. I see they have taken off Vettel’s front wing and given it to Bernie tut tut…………….

  2. Good for him on a personal level that he wants to stay active and congratulations on reaching 80. But I think he’s a couple of decennia past his sell-by date in his position within F1. If we equate his silly ideas, commentaries of dubious and often duplicitous and inciting remarks to drivers’ errors, than we’d have been calling for him to step down and give his place up to a young driver ages ago.

    Oh wait, people have been doing just that.

  3. Let’s all chip in and get him a haircut for his birthday. As F1 fans, it’s the least we can do !

    • Bartholomew said on 31st October 2010, 23:55

      No way, Bernie┬┤s hair is a key element of his signature look.
      His hair look comes from the Ramones, who in turn adapted the hair look from Moe of the Three Stoodges.The Ramones adored the Three Stooges.
      The name “Ramones” was taken from a ficticious name that Paul Mcartney used when he was very young and playing with the Beatles in Hamburg : “Paul Ramon”. He was so young that he did not want the police to find out his real name or age, for work permit purposes.
      And Paul came up with the name “Paul Ramon” probably based on the name of Liverpool strip club and porn impresario Paul Raymond, a very cool character.

      So,fellas, now you know where Bernie comes from.

  4. Bartholomew said on 28th October 2010, 22:35

    Bernie is a force of nature –
    Good buziness, s.e.x., positive attitude, family, and careful eating and good habits.
    I disagree with how F1 is being run ( lack of traditions, classical venues, no USA, etc) but have to admit that he is tremendous.
    Bernie, Flava, Ron there will be no mo┬┤after them.
    May you have many more birthdays
    Cheers

  5. Alex 3 said on 29th October 2010, 1:20

    Bernie Ecclstone should remember the words of Douglas MacArthur and just fade away.
    His glory days are done and his nothing but an SD these days.

  6. john brownlie said on 29th October 2010, 16:16

    so will the zimmer frame do 80mph or is this the start of a new formula (zimmer) that bernie has thought up

  7. Bilstar said on 29th October 2010, 19:31

    I love F1. Bernie plays a massive role in making it what it is.

    Bernie FTW?

  8. Bartholomew said on 31st October 2010, 23:43

    The natural successor for Bernie is Flava
    That is if Bernie does not bury all of us! he has more hair than me

  9. Hare (@hare) said on 2nd November 2010, 23:37

    Isn’t there a law saying you can’t exceed 70?

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