We all know Bernie Ecclestone is a money-grubbing, chauvinistic asshat, but the crusty supreme leader of F1 just upped his Mr. Burns quotient by 1,000 in a recent interview, pointing out that 15-year-olds don't buy Rolexes and comparing Marussia and Caterham to "ladies with credit cards." Then it gets worse.
In an interview with marketing magazine Campaign Asia-Pacific (via Autosport), Ecclestone's ignorant curmudgeondom comes out in full force, beginning with the idea that getting young people into racing is a complete waste of his time. To wit:
I don't know why people want to get to the so-called 'young generation'. Why do they want to do that? Is it to sell them something? Most of these kids haven't got any money. I'd rather get to the 70-year-old guy who's got plenty of cash. So, there's no point trying to reach these kids because they won't buy any of the products here and if marketers are aiming at this audience, then maybe they should advertise with Disney.
Right, because 70-year-olds are going to live forever and there's no chance in hell that some kid playing with toy race cars on his carpet right now might be the next titan of industry to run UBS. Or Ferrari.
Ecclestone goes on to say that he's not interested in, nor does he want to understand, anything involved in promoting the sport or getting younger audiences engaged through social media or non-traditional outlets. "I'm not interested in tweeting, Facebook and whatever this nonsense is," says Ecclestone. "And, I don't know what the so-called 'young generation' of today really wants."
As for the recent financial troubles plaguing Caterham and Marussia, Ecclestone – who's helped make F1 one of the most expensive sports in the world – simply says, "Just don't spend as much. These teams don't need to be in financial trouble," before saying, "It's the same problem with ladies and credit cards."
When asked if these teams' troubles will have an impact on F1, Ecclestone likens it to the Oscar Pistorius case in South Africa, where the Paralympic medal-winner was found guilty of homicide after fatally shooting his girlfriend in 2013.
Not at all. Nobody will miss the two teams because they're not front-running teams; they've only got a name that people would know because of the problem they're in. If you want to get recognised you've got to do something. This poor guy in South Africa [Oscar Pistorius], for instance, has got more interest because of what happened with him than when he was winning gold medals. He won medals and afterwards nobody thought about him. If this case hadn't happened he would have been forgotten, probably. Same with these two teams.