‘Liberty should have kept Bernie around’

Date published: February 22 2017

Former Ferrari and McLaren driver Stefan Johansson believes new owners Liberty Media were wrong to remove Bernie Ecclestone so quickly.

Ecclestone became Chairman Emeritus to reflect his retired position when Liberty Media completed their $8 billion takeover in January.

But Johansson reckons he could have played more of a predominant role in helping Liberty Media during the transitional phase.

“It was a weird feeling when I first heard of the announcement and talking with other friends from Formula 1 it seems that everyone agrees that it’s kind of sad, he’s been like a grandfather to all of us,” Johansson wrote in his latest blog entry.

“The change is definitely a big deal. I can’t think of anyone in the paddock now who was there before Bernie. It will be very interesting to see what happens.

“Personally I feel that Liberty might have been better off by keeping Bernie on-board for a few more years and ease into the ownership by learning or studying how things got done rather than cutting the cord and starting with a clean sheet right away.

“If I had the opportunity to work next to what is arguably one of the best deal-makers in history, not only in F1 but in general, I would certainly jump at the opportunity.

“The devil is always in the detail and Mr. E was the only one in that organisation that had an intimate knowledge of every little detail. Those are some big shoes to fill for sure.”