Ecclestone quashes talk of rival series

Bernie Ecclestone (File)
Bernie Ecclestone (File)

London - Bernie Ecclestone has denied he plans to create a rival competition to Formula One after losing his position as the sport's chief executive.

Ecclestone's 40-year reign as Formula One's supremo came to an end earlier this week after American company Liberty Media completed a $8 billion takeover.

Chase Carey, who has already the Formula One chairperson, was given the title of CEO following the takeover as the curtain came down on Ecclestone's long-standing reign.

Reports emerged that Ecclestone could promote a breakaway series.

But in a statement released on Friday, the 86-year-old said: "I wish to clear up the rumours that I am starting a series to compete against the FIA Formula One World Championship.

"I have built the Championship over the last near 50 years, which is something I am proud of, and the last thing I want, is to see it damaged.

"The new owner of the company will be able to carry out the administration of the company in a different way to the way I had, which was to produce financial results for the shareholders, the normal actions of a chief executive.

"This, I have done for the different shareholders over the last years and also when I owned 100 per cent of the company. I would have loved the luxury of what Chase Carey, the CEO, is able to do.

"I hope the F1 supporters appreciate this as Chase intends to put money back into the sport.

"I am very touched by the support and thanks that I have received from the people that I have dealt with over the years."

Liberty's acquisition of Formula One could see significant changes to the sport's image.

Carey, who will be flanked by ex-Mercedes boss Ross Brawn and Sean Bratches, formerly of ESPN, has promised the new owners will 'shake up' Formula One.

He wants more races in bigger cities, with a 'Super Bowl' build-up to each race, and greater promotion of the sport.

The new season gets under way in Melbourne on March 26.

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