Bernie Ecclestone is one of the most well known faces in all of motorsports, and he isn't even a successful driver. That's because Bernie literally holds the keys to the world's most popular motorsport. But beyond that, Bernie is a sexist, greedy troll that will do nearly anything to bolster his own pockets and could care less about the tradition of Formula One.
That picture at the top of this post is the most flattering pic of Bernie ever taken. Bernie is 5'3" and always scowling. I'm shocked he doesn't actually live under a bridge, although I'm sure if he did he'd charge a gigantic toll to get across. Seriously, dude is a troll.
Ecclestone has been making money off his friends since he was a young child. Bernie is the son of a fisherman, so he wasn't exactly born rich. He's worked hard for his money his entire life. In grade school, he apparently would work two paper routes, and then use that money to buy buns which he'd then sell to schoolmates at a profit.
Play time doesn't seem like it was ever a thing for Bernie. He had one motivation, and that motivation was money. The pick-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps storyline would actually be a compelling one if it didn't end with him becoming a sort of unrepentant Scrooge McDuck.
He's basically Emperor Palpatine in real life. Remember how Emperor Palpatine orchestrated his own rise to become supreme leader of the Galactic Republic in Star Wars? No? You say you're not a nerd? Oh, well Ecclestone did basically the same thing in Formula One. Ecclestone was a founding member of the Formula One Constructors' Association, which, under his direction, grew in power and influence to the point where he staged a freaking coup. His right hand and own personal Darth Vader, Max Mosley, would go on to become president of both FISA and the FIA, Formula One's parent companies. Mosley and Ecclestone ruled Formula One together for about 23 years, from 1986 while Mosley was at FISA through the end of his FIA presidency in 2009.
It has even been alleged that Ecclestone tried to use bribery to get Mosley a spot in the British Parliament despite, you know, Max Mosley being Max Mosley. Then I suppose he could take over the government and form a new British Empire. More on bribery in a minute.
Ecclestone got the TV rights for Formula One and also established something called FOPA, which distributed the TV earnings. 23 percent of all earnings went back into FOPA, which WAS Ecclestone. That money did go back in as prize money for teams. But Bernie is worth billions, so it probably didn't all go there.
Bernie is a sexist dinosaur. In 2005, Bernie had a few choice quotes about Danica Patrick:
Yep, she did a good job, didn't she? Super. Didn't think she was going to make it. You know I've got one of those wonderful ideas ... women should be dressed in white like all the other domestic appliances.
He's also said that women would never excel in Formula One. He hasn't really had the chance to be proven wrong yet, since there have been no full time drivers. But I bet Bernie would get the crap kicked out of him by Danica Patrick in any sort of race.
He used an injury in order to sell watches. In 2010, Bernie was mugged while leaving his office in London. He was beaten and had about £200,000 worth of jewelry stolen. The billionaire could have left it at that, but instead he decided to whore out his face for a Hublot ad. Hublot is a watch partner of Formula One. Hublot says Bernie wasn't paid for the ad and that it was his idea. But it would make Hublot money, and Hublot does pay Bernie to be an F1 sponsor. So it's a circle... of money. Admittedly, it was a great ad.
Ecclestone said that Hitler "could get things done." Hitler is without a doubt one of the worst people that ever lived, so making a reference to him in a positive light, well, that's kind of a no no.
In a lot of ways, terrible to say this I suppose, but apart from the fact that Hitler got taken away and persuaded to do things that I have no idea whether he wanted to do or not, he was in the way that he could command a lot of people, able to get things done.
Sure… ok Bernie.
His daughters are exactly the wealthy princesses you'd expect. Ecclestone has two daughters, Tamara and Petra. They make Paris Hilton look thrifty. Petra owns "The Manor," which was built by Aaron Spelling. She bought it for just $85 million. Tamara owns a ton of properties as well. When Tamara found out that Bernie was getting remarried, she refused to go to the wedding. Neither one of his daughters attended.
Actually, that sounds about status quo. They really are his kids.
His pursuit of more and more money is slowly destroying Formula One. He's continued to look for more and more money for one of the richest sports in the world. And while there is no denying that going international with your racing is a good thing, he's doing so at the expense of classic circuits, instead going places with massive pockets. Hockenheim and the Nurburgring have to alternate grand prix dates, Imola doesn't get a race, and the race at Spa is continually under threat while Abu Dhabi and Bahrain get incredibly boring races every year.
But they line his pockets with oodles of money, so there's no issue.
He gets his way by acting like a small child: He threatens to take things away. When Bernie wants something from someone, he puts up that old "stamp my feet and cross my arms" routine that you learn when you're five years old.
The sad thing is, it works. And it just makes Bernies deep pockets even deeper.
Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone warned that a revamp of Silverstone's pit building was a non-negotiable part of the agreement.Ecclestone has always expected more from Silverstone, once describing the British Grand Prix as "a country fair masquerading as a world event".
Look at the Austin race: it was phenomenal. Everybody agreed that it is great that Formula One is back in the States. Maybe we'll get the Europeans to wake up instead of thinking that it (a race) is a God-given thing. When Europeans perform and do their job we are happy to stay.
What a prick.
He has some sort of strange man-crush on Sebastian Vettel. Bernie seems to be Vettel's number one fan and defender. He should sign on as his manager.
If I was Sebastian Vettel, having won three World Championships for the team and somebody came on the radio and started giving me instructions, I'd probably do exactly the same as Kimi Raikkonen did when he came back and they gave him some instructions. I'd say, 'I know what I'm doing'.
And Seb is up against much tougher opposition than Michael was. He's very honest. He's very dedicated. And he's very talented. He has made sure that he's exploited his capabilities to the maximum. We've always got on well [too]. And I think it helped us get on when he came into the sport and I identified him, straight away, as someone who would be world champion.
Sebastian has an absolute will to succeed but has stayed very grounded. No win, however big, will stop him being grounded. That is immensely important in this business. Seb is relaxed and will always remain true to himself – that is why things come easy.
Remember that one time he put his hand on Schumacher's crotch? That was awkward.
He'll charge people a lot of money to include them, and throw money at problems to make sure he gets his way. Ecclestone is currently involved in a pretty intense bribery suit. Basically, it is alleged that Ecclestone paid a German banker $44 million to steer the sale of F1 to CVC, the current owners.
Ecclestone and the banker, Gerhard Gribowsky, reportedly undervalued F1 when it was sold to CVC. CVC was the preferred buyer because it would keep Ecclestone on as the CEO. Gribowsky is now in jail for corruption and other charges. Ecclestone goes in front of the high court in October, unless he buys his way out of it first.
If he does go to jail, it would be interesting to see what happens to F1. Slightly dislike him or hate him, F1 is on the global stage because of Ecclestone, and there are very few people that will be able to fill his shoes. And at 82 years old, he isn't getting any younger. It'll be interesting to see how F1 carries on without him.
Photo Credits: Getty Images