The way we think about Formula 1 as a pinnacle of motor racing is largely thanks to the work of its last boss, bemused hobgoblin Bernie Ecclestone. In Bernie’s later years, however, it looked more and more like he was stifling the sport he helped bring into the mainstream. Now that he’s out it’s increasingly clear that, yeah, Bernie and friends were bad news.
The hardcore followers of F1 pretty much all came to this realization when they woke up one day, checked twitter, and noticed that it had been a long time since there were any articles about the guy running F1 being a fan of Putin or saying that Hitler had some good ideas.
But more casual fans picked up on something different: at the last Grand Prix, the TV crew zeroed in on a kid fan of Kimi Raikkonen openly weeping at his fav driver wrecked out of the race.
Amazingly, this kid got to go meet Kimi in person, which was a very heartwarming and personal moment. F1 in its old regime was pretty much the opposite of heartwarming and personal. They penalized one F1 driver for giving another driver a ride back to the pits, for instance.
The new CEO of Liberty Media, F1's new owner, Chase Carey spoke to the press about the kid and explained that in the Bernie days, everybody was too terrified to let anything like this happen, as Motorsport reports:
This received widespread praise and is something Liberty Media representative Carey described as a “special moment” F1 would not have provided under Bernie Ecclestone/CVC’s stewardship.
“We got all this press about the little boy who got pulled down, and they did it on their own, having a sense a freedom that they wouldn’t have had a year ago,” he said.
“I didn’t tell them to find the little boy, there are people who did it on their own, thought it would be a special moment, and it was.”
Carey went on to say that in the post-Bernie era, F1 is also getting more lax with penalizing drivers for tense moments on track and it’s looking to make its fan zones not “feel like a carnival 20 years ago.”
All of this is to say that it’s all becoming clear that letting a man who was born under the reign of King George V run arguably the most technologically advanced sport in the world was a bad idea.