Red Bull Racing chief Christian Horner believes that Formula 1’s new owner, Liberty Media, should continue to work with former CEO Bernie Ecclestone in a constructive manner to help grow the sport.
Liberty completed its takeover of F1 back in January, with Ecclestone losing his position as CEO and receiving the honorary title of ‘chairman emeritus’.
American executive Chase Carey has taken over the day-to-day running of F1, but Ecclestone is still set to attend around half of the grands prix on the 2017 calendar.
Last weekend’s Australian Grand Prix marked the first race in several decades that Ecclestone was not in overall charge of, and was regarded as being the start of a new era for F1.
However, Horner believes that Ecclestone’s knowledge and influence within F1 means that he should still play an integral role in the sport’s management, and that Liberty should work with the 86-year-old accordingly.
“What Bernie’s done for Formula 1 has been amazing. The sport is what it is today because of what he created,” Horner said.
“I think in the role that he has, he’s still going to be in a position to contribute, he still has a huge amount of historical knowledge, respect and relationships around the world and I think that harnessed and used in the right way is an asset to Formula 1.
“I’m sure he’ll be at some forthcoming events and yeah, I think hopefully the new owners can use him constructively and beneficially to build on the good work that’s already been done.”
Ferrari team principal Maurizio Arrivabene echoed Horner’s thoughts, saying the strong base which Ecclestone put F1 on must be respected and recognized.
“I think that Bernie deserves all our respect because if we are here and if the sport grows it is thanks to him,” Arrivabene said.
“I think that the new group that is owning Formula 1 is here to make this sport grow even more so there is no future without the good historical base.
“If we have a good historical base then I think the new owners are looking forward to continue to grow and that’s thanks to Bernie for everything he’s done and now we need to look forward.”
Ecclestone is due to make his first appearance back in the F1 paddock over the Bahrain Grand Prix weekend on April 14-16.