Well, it’s been one hell of a ride, but after leading F1 for a bajillion years the watch of Bernie has ended. And with Bernie gone, what becomes of modern F1, the brand he built from almost nothing into a global force? And what will this hard trio up top do to bring F1 into the digital era? It’s a brave new world in F1, so let’s get to it.
Bernie. Where do we even begin with you? You’ve seemed to make a career for yourself by being both the devil and angel of F1. You created the TV market for the sport, but at the same time made it almost prohibitively expensive for the average person to watch. You brought amazing new counties and circuits into the fold, but at the same time you bullied the European classics we all know and love. Always controversial, always witty you’ve been the character that F1 needed to grow, but maybe now really is the time for you to say goodbye and watch your beloved sport from the sidelines.
The harder question to me is whether or not I’ll miss Bernie. Or if I’ll come to accept Ross Brawn as not an agent of Mercedes or Ferrari, but as the voice of the soul of the sport. Only time can tell, but I do have a hunch that I won’t miss the old man. As funny as he could be he always seemed to have something driving him other than continuing to grow the sport. Sure he would add races in new countries, but by driving the sport to paid TV and shunning the internet he made it almost impossible for new fans to try the sport by catching it on accident, or finding out about it online.
But will Brawn change any of that? Will he and Liberty Media embrace the internet and on demand nature of modern media consumption? We can only wait to find out what the future holds, but with Ross Brawn at the helm, I trust we are in good hands. The countdown to 2017 is ticking down, and I can’t wait to see what’s next.