(GMM) Formula 1 is being run in an “American style” that Bernie Ecclestone would never have dreamed of overseeing.
The buzz around this weekend’s first-ever race in Miami is palpable, even if there has been some criticism of the more gaudy aspects – like the fake boat harbor.
But Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said: “The city is hyped – is that how you say it?
“Formula 1 is all around, the amount of guest requests we have is amazing. I think we’ve finally landed in North America.”
McLaren’s American chief executive Zak Brown added: “The demand from sponsors and fans has been off the charts, unlike anything I’ve seen since my time in Formula 1.
“Soon we will have Vegas as well so I really like where we are in North America as far as Formula 1’s popularity goes.”
Less enthusiastic is F1’s former chief executive and ‘supremo’ Bernie Ecclestone, who was ousted shortly after Liberty Media took over some five years ago.
“They’re producing Formula 1: American Style,” the 91-year-old told Bloomberg.
“It may well be that it’s good, because so many stupid things come out of America and everyone’s happy, but it wasn’t the way I ran things.”
When told about Ecclestone’s comments, Liberty CEO Greg Maffei indicated that there is no love lost between them.
“Bernie can mouth off all he wants,” he said. “But the reality is, everybody wants in now.”
Wolff hails Ecclestone’s contribution to the success of modern Formula 1, but indicated that the diminutive Briton would not have been able to guide the sport in the new digital era.
“Bernie was great in his time – he invented this sport,” he said. “But the technology changed.”