Former long-time Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone has taken shots at new F1 owners Liberty Media, claiming that the American giants want to erase him from the sport's history.
Liberty Media completed their acquisition of Formula One earlier this year in a £6 billion takeover deal and immediately relinquished Ecclestone from his role as chief executive.
Ecclestone, who had been in charge of Formula One for over 40 years, was given the title of chairman emeritus, with the responsibilities of his former role divided out between Ross Brawn, who will now deal with regulating the sport, and Sean Bratches, who will deal with the commercial aspects of F1, both being overseen by new boss Chase Carey.
Ecclestone has been very vocal about his displeasure regarding his demotion and the changes Liberty have made so far, and recently told the Mail on Sunday that he felt like the new owners were trying to diminish the influence the 86-year old has on future of the sport.
"I can't do anything," he claimed. "Even the staff have been told they shouldn't talk to me.
"They want to get rid of the Bernie era: 'Let's get rid of Bernie's history'. They always say the same thing, they probably think it makes me happy but it doesn't: 'He has done a super job but we have to move on', and they may be right."
Despite being heavily criticised in the past for prioritising short-term financial gain at the expense of the long-term future of the sport, Ecclestone defended the way that he ran Formula One whilst seemingly criticising the new owners "philosophy".
"I look at it in a different way to other people. Everyone wants to go to a restaurant where you can't get a seat. So I was very strict with things like paddock passes.
"Liberty's philosophy is more open. They have an American culture and at an American race everyone is in the paddock and the pits and they can chat with the drivers and sit in their cars.
"In F1, we have been running a five-star Michelin restaurant, not a hamburger joint. But maybe now the cuisine will be more accessible. Maybe it will even have a better taste."
Liberty Media have already loosened the social media restrictions that Ecclestone had put in place, and it looks like plenty more changes in the sport will be coming sooner rather than later.
Is Ecclestone's criticism of Liberty Media fair? Should he be allowed more of say in the direction of the sport? Have YOUR say in the comments below.
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