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Chase Carey responds to Bernie Ecclestone jibe about “overcharging” F1 promoters
Chase Carey
Posted By: James Allen  |  17 Apr 2017   |  8:21 pm GMT  |  140 comments

F1’s new CEO Chase Carey has responded to comments by his predecessor Bernie Ecclestone at the weekend in Bahrain that F1 race promoters had been overcharged and will now want a discount or to withdraw from their contracts, as well as his assertion that Liberty is not focussed on profits, where he had to be to satisfy his shareholders, CVC Capital Partners.

The American told the Financial Times on Monday that Ecclestone “managed for short-term profits, we are managing for long term value”, while he said that race promoters “were not tricked” on price, but the problem was “has F1 invested in the right way to support the events?”

Ecclestone was deposed by Liberty Media once they completed the takeover of the sport in January. He was made chairman emeritus. They installed Carey and his management team and they have since renewed circuit deals with Russia and Canada, while the Singapore promoters were in Melbourne to discuss a contract extension. However Malaysia has announced that this year’s race will be the last.

Bernie Ecclestone

What Ecclestone said

Ecclestone was in Bahrain as a guest of the Bahraini Crown Prince and went on the grid on Sunday. On Friday he met with reporters at the track and said,

“The only thing that would be good for everyone would be if we could charge the promoters a lot less money. I charged them too much for what we provide.

“I did some good deals commercially. They are paying a lot of money, and most of them, if not all of them, are not making any money. Quite the opposite.

“Sooner or later I’m frightened that the governments behind them will say enough is enough, and bye-bye.

“If we could reduce the fee they pay they could then charge less for tickets and sell more tickets.

Bernie Ecclestone

He also suggested that Liberty Media and the new management were not worried about managing the F1 business for profit, as they are spending money he did not on new areas like commercial research, marketing and digital media.

“I was running the company to try and make money for the shareholders. It doesn’t seem that’s the thing that’s driving them. He (Carey) wants to get more happy spectators I think,” said Ecclestone.

“It’s not for a few years when people start thinking you haven’t done what you thought you would have. I wouldn’t want to be having to deliver to a public company today. I feel sorry for Chase having to do that.”

What Carey said

Carey was reluctant to get into a tit-for-tat with Ecclestone, however on these points he responded to the Financial Times on Monday,

“These were agreements negotiated between two capable parties and if there is a definition of fair value it’s a deal that two capable parties agree on,” he said “These were agreements between two parties that valued the franchise how it was valued. Nobody was tricked.

“If there is a point to it; has F1 invested in the right way to support the events? It’s not that the deal is overpriced, it’s more did we deliver where we should deliver?

Lewis Hamilton

“So when Bernie says we are not managing for profits, what he is meaning is: we are investing in marketing, investing in digital.

“He managed for short-term profits, we are managing for long term value.

“Many times to build value you will invest money at an early stage to increase value at a later stage.

“If you look at sports that have had incredible growth, like the English Premier League or the NFL, they have made investments to grow their franchise. We are committed to growing value, but we do believe it’s important to invest in the sport. We do care about the profits, but realistically the long-term value is what it’s all about,

“Therefore some of the things that should have been done to support the events; marketing the sport better, creating access to digital platforms to bring in new fans, to provide research to understand how do you make it better, those sorts of tools didn’t exist.

“The (Ecclestone) comment on profits is very telling; is it about short term profits? No. We’ve been very clear; we think it’s about building long term value.

“Investing money does not mean we don’t care about profits”

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Bernie seems to have ‘short term profits’ for an awfully long time.

Balraj Dhaliwal

Finally Bernie admits that he has been overcharging the venues. We all knew it, they all knew it it’s nice to get an admission. This proves that Bernie is not the right person to grow the sport. He should have been replaced about 5 or 6 years ago to set the sport on the right track but better late than never. Well done Chase and Liberty.


Hi James. I really like your site. Great information and insight. I have only been a TV watcher of F1, but two of us are going to the Canadian GP. So I will let you know if our experience was a good one from a newbie’s point of view! Tim


Bernie invested in digital broadcasting. He was persuaded to upgrade to higher res and broader bandwidth and got burned to the tune of several $ tens of millions.
I think that made him very gun shy about new technology and changing what worked for him.
He had a lot of countries banging on his door wanting to host an F1 race. The demand far outstripped the supply for a long, long time. He could play the prospects off of one another because if one buyer wouldn’t meet the fees, another was waiting in the wings who would.
Unfortunately, the historic tracks in Europe were sacrificed in order to make wads of money in the Middle East and Asia.
Of course CVC Capital Partners pushed him hard to deliver maximum profits, often I believe, to the detriment of F1 and its brand.
The race in the US in Austin had to have Texas state money to make it a viable event. Even with $ billionaire backers and top name entertainers putting on concerts.
Texas will not do this indefinitely. As was evidenced by cutting 20% from the money it was going to provide to support the event.
Times have changed. Few venues are still willing (or able) to pay the exorbitant fees when they get so little in return. Even the races backed by a government are rethinking their involvement.
I believe Liberty Media is approaching this properly. Giving everything a rethink. Looking at every aspect to determine how to get more entertainment for the audience, as well as what should be done to make the events viable for the track owners. As Mr. Carey said, thinking about the long-term health of the sport. Not just maximizing short-term profits.
Kudos to them for doing so.


Would it work to rotate Grand Prix’s over several tracks through the years? A USGP at Indianapolis in 2018, New York 2019, Long Beach in 2020 and then through them again would be great in so many ways (Fresh local crowds every 3 years, no recent data to set up the cars etc), and give the chance for a bigger one off fee every 3 years.


Interesting that Bernie voluntarily reveals more of this true colors. The comment about running F1 for shareholder profit and about hacing seen social media as a cost to be avoided because of little upside really reveal how out of touch and bad for the sport Bernie was (in some ways. Bernie surely had successes but he is now shining a spotlight on his own glaring failures! The current Formula 1 YouTube channel with tons of interesting videos is reason enough to say good riddance to Bernie and even more so with this extra fuel that he adds to the fire.

welcome to the future folks (-8


Bernie is yesterday’s man, he knows that and he knows his statements are wrong, but Bernie is Bernie and that won’t stop him having some fun. If he’s not making money he’s making mischief!

Tornillo Amarillo

Carey is right. I think Warren Buffet could agree with him 🙂


The need to create a new fanX on site ,tv broadcast with different camera (viser cam).Top secret era should be over,did anyone saw the post race show on SKY,he was walking & we couldn’t see anything in the garage.Wow brillant coverage… Fan zone is a disaster compared to other motorsport serie

The value ticket price vs experience at the GP doesn’t make any sense,They do nothing to get new fan .We pay more to get less every year since 1995. We ‘ve been fan since 1979.

The calendar needs the key Grand Prix,we need more grand prix at the ring,Imola,Estoril,Buenos Aires¯Kyalami & 2 more grand prix in the state one east coast Nyc & a night race in Las Vegas.Long Beach,Detroit & Watkins Glen are now presenting Indycar.They don’t have any interest to present the F1 races at their tracks.I also love Brands Hatch even Donington Park better than Silverstone

How many races on the 2017 calendar is relevant to the passionnate fambase? for me these are the one : Monza aussieGP,Interlagos,Mexico City,Spa,GVC,Cota,Monaco,Suzuka,Catalunya


I expected more from the new management particularly when it comes to FOM coverage.
Camera Angles –
At the start, in particular, you NEED a high shot to see who is moving forward faster than another. Every race now, we get these low shots of the lights going out. It’s useless. With regard to the onboard chatter above, FOM seem to prefer these close FOV (Field of View) shots in recent years. The onboards from the 00’s were very wide angle and really conveyed speed. It just works so much better on TV.

Director –

Perhaps there is a new person in the job, but China was abysmal. It seems obvious to me that whoever it is isn’t a ‘racer’ at heart because they choose to cut away from things when you (i) can clearly see a situation developing. A prime example was Vettel on Kimi. Kimi got a poor exit of T2 “here we go, this is it” I thought. Director cuts to Kvyat parked up behind a barrier. Cuts back to the Ferrari’s and Vettel is past Kimi. Other times, commonly, we’ll cut to someone pitting from the midfield at the expense of significant track action. Another example is when there is a pit stop undercut/overcut scenario where you need to the director to switch to the long shot of the S/F straight to see the other guy bearing down on them. Several times in China, this was far too late or just didn’t happen at all. Don’t get me started on the lingering fan/celeb shots.
Camera sync –

I saw someone else raising this last year. How haven’t they sorted it yet? The Onboard shots are about 0.5-1.0s behind the rest of the feed. An instance was Vettel overtaking Ricciardo. Switching between onboard and outboard was perplexing because one second, Vettel was lining him up and immediately he’s ahead around the outside. It’s just plain confusing.


There is nothing inherently wrong with trying to tap into new markets, but one has to be careful in doing that not alienate your existing market(s). Sure some of the new tracks have been good some not so good but that wasn’t that the same with the older circuits. So the question is how many races can teams support? Now perhaps they could support more with a bigger slice of money but even then I don’t think we are likely to see much more that 22 or 23 races a season.


Bernie is just being his usual mischievous and attention seeking self… And, wasn’t he one of the shareholders than profited from the deals where he charged too much and ultimate the sale to Liberty?! Liberty’s focus on creating long term value for all the various stakeholders, as opposed to short-termism, seems right on to me!




Its impossible to know what Bernie is up to right now. Is it just sour grapes, an attempt to control the circuits or something else.

Similarly, its impossible to know if Liberty will do a better or worse job than Bernie, whether they will sell the company, or keep it for long term value.

Two things are certain, Bernie doesn’t mind making some powerful enemies or looking ridiculous.


Good Old Bernie! LMAO! What we call “the pot calling the kettle black”, just another way of saying hypocrite. I hope I’m that cheeky when I get to be 80 whatever he is.
On another note, you got to love the picture of Carey, whoever and Ross Brawn. The two rich guys who’ve got more money than God and “own” F1 and Ross Brawn (who is a millionaire himself) standing with his hand in his pocket looking ever like the supremely confident team principle and your rich uncle who only wants the best for you. Hopefully he’s not swayed by these two businessmen and guides F1 to the heights only a racer can.

Ricciardo Aficionado

So after gouging as much money as possible from the sport yet investing nothing in its future, Bernie now announces he’s overvalued the product he’s just sold.
We have a word for his kind in my town…


what is it what’s the word?


I’m pretty sure it is just sour grapes on Bernie’s part.


While the politics can be an interesting diversion to the day to day F1. I don’t see this has adding any kind of value to F1, now or in the future.

In a similar fashion to how the radio messages are broadcast to enhance the GP and not advertise the mundane of the drivers being told to select this and that mode. We should all choose to filter out Bernie’s self centered, outdated drivel.

I for one am really excited by the long term prospect of the sport.


I saw the C4 interview with him on the weekend. He came across as like being the elderly neighbour who shouts at the kids to turn the music down and stop making so much noise. He’s like a Scooby Doo villain now. Passing the buck onto the shareholders was a step too far, he made a lot of money off those deals and I am sure that it was on a percentage basis. Never mind the exclusive TV deals for Sky et al. In less than 2 years a lot of us won’t be able to watch a race live, if at all because of this guy. He takes and takes and takes and expects us all to feel sorry for him? Please! Pull the other one, it has bells on.


Very interesting. I read the article, then the comments and then re-read the article. Lots of information in here. I guess it’s indeed a difference of doing business, only looking at the shareholders and their short term interests (BE) or taking the long view (CC). I guess a lot of people see that F1 needs a change, the few simple tweaks made before this season (regarding filming in the pitlane for example) already show the sport is modernizing. In the end the f1 shareholders are a select group of people who should be looking at the long game as much as the short one.


People on here are praising Liberty but the fact is they are allowing F1 to continue with the pay TV model which I , many other fans and Joe Saward know doesn’t work for F1- look at the decline in uk viewership -especially since only 10 races a season have become free to air as well as the free races now being on C4 It’s alright doing great stuff at the circuit but what about access for fans who can not get there . From 2019 all races will be on sky and that is when you can expect attendances at Silverstone to start declining and when that happens Liberty will realise their mistake in keeping Bernie’s pay TV model. If they do not do that and reduce ticket prices for certain European races – they will have failed F1 and its’ fanbase. Lets not praise Liberty too much until/unless those things are done . Also I have noted the top comment of Gaz Boy and all I would say is don’t get your hopes up-especially considering Liberty are interested in taking a F1 back to Turkey – where one man and his dog turned up for the last race we had there in 2011 despite a decent circuit. Just because Liberty and not Bernie are in charge doesn’t mean F1 won’t be happy to deal dictatorial regimes. I still wouldn’t be surprised to see a F1 race in Qatar at some point.


It seems we are beginning to see just how under developed F1 was as a global brand. Just from Facebook alone, there has been a massive increase in exposure as mini-highlight clips appear in my feed, alongside humorous clips and interesting articles.

Liberty seem absolutely bang on in that there needs to be some short term investment to enable long term gains and F1 is lagging far behind its sporting rivals. I feel there does need to be an adjustment and F1 move closer to it’s European homeland. A couple of circuits aside, the middle eastern tracks along with Sochi and Baku are poor optics for the TV viewers and that doesn’t bode well in an environment where F1 is fighting tooth and nail for attention. Tracks like Monaco and Belgium simply look more appealing to the viewer (even if in Monaco’s case the race is a bit flat).

Sometimes it is very obvious even from this site that the feeling from the circuit is in stark contrast to what the average viewer experiences at home. I attended the 2006 British Grand Prix which was one of the dullest races of the season yet was a fantastic experience at trackside. I can only imagine how it would feel to be within the F1 bubble in terms of the sports media at some of these excellent purpose built venues. But for the folks back home, these new races are completely lacking visually and on the racing front also a little artificial. Add in the lack of any history at these tracks (which builds the viewers emotional connection) and you lose attention.

If you look at the world cup for example, the average fans are much more enthused when the final is held in one of the great historical stadiums be it in Brazil or Europe, than they would be at less historical venues (such as the upcoming Qatar world cup).


come on this is a non-starter
the new owners are running the company for the fans, literally how any sporting franchise should be managed, for the fans, cause without them there is no sport to make profit on

how is this even news, bernie should be smarter than saying he was running the sport for profit, we already know circuit’s and their governments couldn’t match his demands and having the f1 circus come along stopped being a boon to any economy because fans couldn’t match bernie’s demands either as far as ticket pricing went

baffled by bernie here, dumb to open his mouth at all cause this will just lead to resentment from anyone that breaks down what he said


I would just like to say how refreshing it is to hear Carey saying they are taking a “long term benefit” view of things, that just doesn’t happen now a days in any walk of life from government to business and, as we know too well, sport. Everyone is after a quick buck, to hell with the consequences.

I have argued and I think pretty much everyone agrees that the venues being ripped off benefits no one other than the F1 shareholders. Cheaper venues = cheaper tickets = more fans through the gates = more investment in facilities = benefit to all levels of Motorsport = good for Motorsport, etc. For F1 itself then if the prices are less then circuits don’t need the ridiculous long term contracts they are after at the moment, thereby we can have more variety in the calendar from year to year.

As much as I would love to see a return to classic tracks I think it would be easy and damaging to get too carried away. If we think back to the 80s, 90s and even early 00s it was basically a European championship with a few token “away days”. For all its faults, it is most certainly a World championship at the moment. A few less races for Bernie’s Oligarch pals and at tracks that are officially rubbish, and a few more in the heartlands and I think it would be a perfect balance. If they can make it work financially I see no reason why a region can’t have say 5 tracks with any 3 getting a Grand Prix on a given year.


Bernie and Alonso should spend their evenings together. They would get in a good moaning session then get on with their lives.

Bernie should have done this talking and had his “come to Jesus” moment when he was running things. Formula One is now another person’s bride. Alonso is ruining what’s left of his image with the nonstop moaning. Everyone knows the MCL-whatever is a dog. Yes – you will get passed by a cloud at Spa.

A former CEO disparaging the product he just unloaded… I guess moaners gotta moan…


Says it all about the man Bernie become.
Built our beloved sport up, got filthy rich. Sold to CVC, then carried on screwing the sport over. Now he’s wailing [mod]!.
Does he really think we’re all stupid? He’s just confirming what we already knew. As many other posters have written, shut up and good riddance Bernie! Enjoy your retirement with all your hard earned cash👏


James k …. “Enjoy your retirement with all your hard earned cash”

Er, earned?

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