Bernard Ecclstone

Bernard Ecclstone

English businessman, currently President of FOM (Formula One Management)
Date of Birth: 28.10.1930
Country: Great Britain

  1. Biography of Bernie Ecclestone
  2. Early Motorsport Career
  3. Ownership of Brabham Team
  4. FOCA and FISA Conflict
  5. Creation of Formula One Group
  6. Corporate Dispute and Personal Life

Biography of Bernie Ecclestone

Bernard "Bernie" Charles Ecclestone was born on October 28, 1930, in the small village of St. Peter South Elmham in Suffolk County, East England. At the age of 8, Bernie moved with his parents to Bexleyheath in Kent, which is now part of Greater London. He attended Woolwich Polytechnic, where he co-founded Compton & Ecclestone, a motorcycle parts sales company, with Fred Compton. After completing his education as a chemical engineer, Ecclestone decided to pursue a career in business and motorsport.

Early Motorsport Career

Ecclestone made his debut in motorsport in 1949, competing in local Formula 3 races. He achieved several victories but decided to focus on his business after a serious accident in 1953. By that time, his company Compton & Ecclestone had become the largest motorcycle parts supplier in East London. In 1957, he returned to motorsport as the manager of British Formula 1 driver Stuart Lewis-Evans and purchased the Connaught team for him. Ecclestone himself tried his hand at Formula 1 racing in 1958 but failed to qualify for any races. Tragedy struck when Lewis-Evans died in a crash in 1958, and then Austrian driver Jochen Rindt, whom Ecclestone managed, also lost his life in a practice session of the 1970 Italian Grand Prix, becoming the posthumous Formula 1 World Champion.

Ownership of Brabham Team

In 1971, Ecclestone acquired the Brabham team from its founder, Ron Tauranac. Under Ecclestone's leadership, the team finished in second place in the Constructors' Championship in 1975 and 1981. Driver Nelson Piquet won the World Championship twice in a Brabham car in 1981 and 1983. In 1987, Ecclestone sold Brabham as his primary focus had become the control of Formula 1 itself.

FOCA and FISA Conflict

As the head of the Brabham team, Ecclestone became involved in the Grand Prix Constructors' Association (GPCA) and met Max Mosley, one of the founders of the March team. In 1974, Ecclestone and Mosley played major roles in creating the Formula 1 Constructors' Association (FOCA), which was a rival organization to the Federation Internationale du Sport Automobile (FISA), the official governing body of the championship. The conflict between FOCA and FISA erupted in 1979 over the distribution of revenues from television broadcasts and technical regulations. The negotiation between FOCA and FISA resulted in the signing of the Concord Agreement, which gave FOCA control over television rights and revenue distribution, while FISA was responsible for technical regulations. The agreement also required teams to participate in all championship races. The Concord Agreement, with subsequent amendments, remained in effect until 2009.

Creation of Formula One Group

In 1987, after selling Brabham, Ecclestone established the Formula One Promotions and Administration (FOPA), initially a subsidiary of FOCA but later becoming an independent organization. According to the FOPA agreement, 47% of the revenues from television broadcasts were distributed among the teams, 30% went to the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), and 23% went to FOPA. FOPA also provided funds for team and driver prizes. Ecclestone's leadership of FOCA was credited with bringing modern popularity to Formula 1. In 1993, Ecclestone became the Vice President of the FIA. In 1995, the Formula One Group was created, encompassing the Formula One Management (FOM) and Formula One Administration (FOA) companies, which held all commercial rights to Formula 1, and Formula One Licensing BV, which managed the trademarks and other assets of the sport. Ecclestone became the CEO of FOM and FOA and retained control over SLEC Holdings, which owned shares of the Formula One Group.

Corporate Dispute and Personal Life

In 2004, a corporate dispute over control of the Formula One Group arose, with over 50% of the company's shares going to Alpha Prema. There were rumors of Ecclestone being dismissed as CEO of FOM and FOA, but he managed to keep his positions despite criticism of his leadership. Ecclestone has been married twice and has three daughters. In 2009, his estimated net worth was £1.466 billion.