FORMULA 1’s MOST INFLUENTIAL IN 2020
So with the Formula 1 season currently in a state of stasis as we await the delayed start, here at the JDC Media Centre we thought it would be good to bring you up to date as to who are the custodians of the sport we love.
Between 1996 and 2016, following a transfer of ownership of Formula 1 from Bernie Ecclestone to his wife Slavica, Formula 1 went through a number of different co-owners. The one constant was the majority shareholding being retained by Mrs Ecclestone under the holding company SLEC and the business remaining in the stewardship of Bernie. Liberty Media bought a controlling interest in 2016 and Bernie Ecclestone was moved out of his role as Chief Executive and into his current post as Chairman Emeritus the following year.
During the current COVID-19 pandemic Formula One Management (FOM) and key players from the teams have had to make decisions almost daily, based on ever changing information provided by many governments and administrative bodies.
Today we take a look at the key movers and shakers in the paddock whose power, personalities, wealth, and influence will ensure they are around the table when deciding how Formula 1 racing will return, initially to our TV screens, but ultimately as a live spectator sport again.
Prior to his appointment as CEO of the Formula One Group in 2017, Chase Carey held key roles at a number of broadcasting organisations with Fox and News Corporation. Over his career he has built a reputation for taking on control of brands and building their profiles and audiences. His reputation was such that before he left News Corporation it was rumoured that he would become Rupert Murdock’s successor.
With the acquisition by Liberty and its aspirations to grow Formula 1 into new markets, Carey joined with a particular remit to grow the brand and audience in the US, a goal that Carey is already realising.
Ross Brawn was named Managing Director of the Formula 1 Motor Sports division in January 2017. With Liberty Media coming into the sport with little reputation for managing a sporting organisation, it was important that a recognised motorsports professional headed up the day to day running of race operations and development of the sport.
Having left the Mercedes-Benz team in 2013, Brawn was the perfect choice. With a track record as part of the Williams and Benneton World Championship winning teams, and leading Ferrari to multiple world titles, he won the World Driver’s and Constructor’s championships in his debut year as team owner of BrawnGP. Following its purchase by Mercedes-Benz Brawn built the foundation of what is now the benchmark team in the sport.
As a 30% shareholder, team principle, and CEO of the all-conquering Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 team, Toto Wolfe is one of the most influential personalities in motorsport today.
As a driver, Wolff progressed through various formulae from 1992 before focusing on investment in engineering companies many of which had motorsport connections. He also formed a sports management company with ex-world champion Mika Hakkinen.
Between 2009 and 2016 he bought and sold stakes in Williams Grand Prix, leading the team to its last race win to date in 2012 before leaving in 2013 for Mercedes taking over from Norbert Haug.
Since 2014, Wolff has led Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 to 6 consecutive world constructor’s titles and driver’s titles with Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.
Christian Horner founded the Arden Racing team in 1997, firstly as an owner/driver and following his retirement as full time owner/team principle.
Following the purchase of Jaguar F1 Racing by Red Bull in 2004, Horner was appointed as Red Bull Racing’s Team Principle the following year. Faced with an uncompetitive car, he set out to make changes and played a key role in poaching Adrian Newey, from McLaren as his technical director.
In 2010, the team won their first Constructors’ Championship with Sebastian Vettel winning the Drivers’ Championship as the youngest ever World Champion. At 36, Horner was the youngest team principal to win a Formula 1 Constructors’ Championship. From 2011 to 2013 the team one 3 further constructor’s titles and drivers’ titles for Sebastian Vettel.
If you’re not a driver in Formula 1, the only job that probably offers the same glamour is the one currently held by Mattia Binotto. As Team Principle at Scuderia Ferrari, Binotto presides over one of the most iconic brands and biggest team budgets on the planet.
He is a true motorsport thoroughbred with Batchelors and Masters degrees in Motor Vehicle Engineering. He’s been with Ferrari since 1995 when he joined the team to work in the powertrain department and worked alongside Ross Brawn and Michael Schumacher during the team’s most successful period in Formula 1. In 2013 he became head of powertrain at Ferrari, and was promoted to Chief Technical Officer in 2016, In 2019 he was promoted Team Principal.
Zak Brown is Chief Executive Officer of McLaren Racing. He’s raced professionally throughout his career and formed his own racing team, United Autosports, while at the same time maintaining his other business interests. In 1995, he founded Just Marketing International growing it into the largest motorsport marketing agency in the world before selling it to Chime Communications in 2013. He took up his current post at McLaren in 2016.
With his background in marketing, new media and still the owner of one of the largest motorsport teams in the UK, Brown is considered to be one of the more forward thinking team leaders in the pit lane.
As co-founder of Red Bull GmbH, Mateschitz is one of the wealthiest and therefore influential team owners in Formula 1 with a fortune estimated at $19.5billion.
As previous majority shareholder of the Sauber F1 team, he bought the Jaguar Racing Formula One team in 2004 and renamed it Red Bull Racing. In September 2005, he purchased the Italian Minardi team renaming it Scuderia Toro Rosso, creating a feeder team for Red Bull Racing and developed a successful young driver programme responsible for early stewardship of Sebastian Vettel, Daniel Ricciardo, Daniil Kvyat, Jean-Eric Verne, Carlos Sainz, Max Verstappen, Pierre Gasly, Brendon Hartley, Alex Albon, and Sebastian Buemi amongst others.
During his ownership of Red Bull the team has one 4 constructor’s and 4 driver’s world titles.
Mateschitz also owns the Austrian Red Bull Ring racing circuit, which has hosted the Austrian Grand Prix since 2014.
Lewis Hamilton needs no introduction. As the six-time Formula One World Champion, he is widely regarded as one of the greatest drivers in the history of the sport and is expected to match, and perhaps exceed, Michael Schumacher’s record of 7 world titles before he retires.
Hamilton’s celebrity status transcends the sport with his influence and interests in popular culture, fashion, music, and the environment. As the only black racing driver in Formula 1, with parents of modest means, his profile is inspirational and of importance to organisations and individuals campaigning for racial equality. Hamilton has been targeted by racist abuse throughout his career and has been outspoken in his criticism of racial politics in Formula One as well as calling for greater diversity in the sport.
As one of the most successful drivers in the history of the sport, his tally of 84 race victories and 151 podium finishes is second only to that of Michael Schumacher. He currently holds the records for the all-time most career points (3431), the all-time most pole positions (88), and the most points in a season (413).
His ability to qualify fast and race aggressively, while driving strictly to race strategy and gaining the very most out of the car, has earned him the reputation as the most complete racing driver of his generation.
When it comes to putting the final plan together to get back to racing, each of these very influential motorsport players will undoubtedly part of the debate.
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