Bernie Ecclestone slammed for ‘mouthing off’ over ‘stupid’ America comment after Miami GP

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Former Formula One chief Bernie Ecclestone has been slammed by successors Liberty Media after bemoaning the Americanisation of the sport, being told his ‘mouthing off’ was ‘stupid’. Sunday’s Miami Grand Prix featured some comical moments, including the top-three finishers being ridden to the podium on motorbikes.

F1 has embraced America in recent years, with the sport growing in popularity in the States. The 2023 season will host three Grands Prix in the country having added Las Vegas to the calendar.

But Ecclestone felt that several moments were unnecessary in Miami. He slammed bosses for creating ‘Formula 1: American style’.

But Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei, who took over from Ecclestone five years ago, has aimed a strong swipe at the 91-year-old. Maffei and Ecclestone are known for sharing a tense relationship.

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Maffei said: “Bernie can mouth off all he wants. But the reality is, everybody wants in now.”

It comes after Ecclestone criticised the production of American Formula One events. He said it is far different to how he oversaw the sport.

“They’re producing Formula One: American Style,” the 91-year-old told Bloomberg. “It may well be that it’s good, because so many stupid things come out of America and everyone’s happy, but it wasn’t the way I ran things.”

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There have been plenty of progressive technological advancements since Liberty Media bought out Ecclestone in late 2016. The American mass media company has ensured that the sport has grown Stateside.

And not everyone agrees with Ecclestone. On Sunday, Mercedes chief Toto Wolff praised the work done to raise the profile of motorsport in North America.

The Austrian said: “The city (Miami) is hyped – is that how you say it? Formula One is all around, the amount of guest requests we have is amazing. I think we’ve finally landed in North America.”

McLaren team principal Zak Brown agreed, adding: “The demand from sponsors and fans has been out of this world, beyond anything I’ve seen since coming to F1. Soon we’ll have Vegas too, so I really like how the popularity of the game has evolved. Formula 1 in North America.”

Wolff also appeared to suggest that technology has moved on from the Ecclestone era. He acknowledged the work done by the former Queens Park Rangers chief. He concluded: “Bernie was great in his time – he invented this sport. But the technology changed.”
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