Former F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has criticised Formula One, calling it a 'shitty product' and added that one of his problems with the current offering is that none of the drivers, other than Lewis Hamilton, have a 'character' that is interesting to the public.
In an interview with the Financial Times, the mogul touched on a broad range of topics, but has been very outspoken about his lack of enthusiasm for the current F1 output under the new custodians, Liberty Media.
It is also his belief that F1 is like 'the [Rolling] Stones without Mick [Jagger].'
He said: "That’s what I keep saying. I was selling this shitty product and it embarrassed me because I think, without exception, all the [race] promoters are good mates of mine and I feel sorry for them having to try and struggle to sell tickets at such a shitty show.
It’s like the Stones without Mick. Who have we got that’s really a character in F1? Just Lewis [Hamilton].
"He gets to a lot of different people. It’s very strange. He’s not particularly what you would say black [Hamilton is mixed-race]. But lots and lots and lots of black people have said — I mustn’t use the word “coloured” on tape, “black” is all right, I can use “black” — speak to me in the street and say, 'Well done, Bernie.' They’re happy and proud of Lewis."
Ecclestone also responded to criticism from observers who have stated the drop in interest in F1 globally over the last decade can be held against TV deals with subscription broadcasters, taking the sport out of view of a full generation of potentiall followers:
Ecclstone, however, isn't interested in such notions, adding: “My job was to make sure we built the business so it would sell,” he says. “Which is what happened. Because we sold at a very good price. So I did what I was supposed to do.”
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