Bernie’s looking his age these days. He can’t last forever, but the man built the sport into a huge global event. So like him or not, the sport needs him. So who would take over? Bookies time:
Long considered the favoured one, and an old friend of Bernie’s. He’s got an entrepreneurial genius for making money out of nothing, and he’s got connections everywhere. On the other hand, he’s too much of a buffoon to have the quiet touch Bernie’s always mastered. Outside the sport, he’s very poorly thought of.
Very highly thought of outside the sport, connections and pedigree second to none, at least in the “Old World”. Has the money and the backing to make a takeover attempt, according to reports. Cons: Dictator that makes Moseley look like a pussycat, guaranteed to run the sport like his own private club, and would never look after the best interests of the sport as a whole. Bernie would be against him anyway.
The Bernie & Max show goes back to when they were the underdogs. Max is a genius, of that there’s no doubt. He’s the ultimate political animal and treats the piranha club like a bunch of pet chihuahuas. Cons: Already part of the FIA, though that wouldn’t stop him for a moment.
They already own the sport, they just don’t run it. They know what works and how to maximise revenue. They have someone to run the FIA and don’t care how it gets on with it. That’s one less source of interference. Cons? They don’t know how to run the sport and underestimate just how parochial the paddock is for a multi-billion dollar sport.
Very big money, and very big business. Has several years in the paddock now and has the business acumen to make it work. Very highly thought of in the “New World”.
Cons: Seems like a bit of a background character for a man with such a big yacht.
British, entrepreneur, knows how to turn a buck and has a flair for publicity. Cons: No commitment to the job.
Entrepreneur. A Team Principal in the classic mode of when Bernie himself was – more wheeler dealer than tech head. Plenty of money and knows how to make more. Good connections in the New World. When it comes to running his F1 team, he’s got a very quick handle on what needs to be done, and has covered all the angles very quickly, and well in advance, which is a hallmark of Bernie’s. Cons: Only new to the sport.
My money’s on Fernandes actually. He’s got Branson’s eye for publicity, Mallya’s New World possibilities, and Bernie likes him. He seems to understand how fans think and what they want (he’s done an excellent job with the “Lotus Legacy” problem), he’s a good manager, and he’s well likeable. Lotus are already a team who look solid and professional, which is more than can be said for a new team in a very long time. And he’s got none of the other contender’s drawbacks.