Ecclestone Divorce: Beginning of the end

Bernie Slavica ecclestone
As rumors persisted for a week or more, it has come to light that Slavica Ecclestone has officially filed for divorce from her husband, F1 impresario Bernie Ecclestone.After amassing a fortune from controling interests and commercial rights of the worlds highest profile motorsport series, Mr. Ecclestone may find that fortune walking out the same door his wife did last week.  Mrs. Ecclestone, who is thought to own controlling interest in a trust that possesses just under 10% of formula 1, Left the martial home in Chelsea last week amid rumors of a divorce.

Ed Gorman at the Times has quoted a “friend” of Mrs. Ecclestone’s who says of Slavica:

she believed that her husband would be keen to avoid a legal battle in which his affairs would be pored over in open court. It is not known if the couple signed a prenuptial agreement. “She’s going to hang on to what she’s got,” a friend said. “The settlement is going to be kept absolutely hush-hush. She’s got so much on him that he will not want to go to court.”

Two years ago the McLaren espionage story kept us warm through the winter months, last year it was Max’s sex scandal and this year may just be the biggest yet…the brutal divorce of the emperor of F1. Many speculate that this could be the biggest financial settlement in the history of divorce eclipsing Paul McCartney and Michael Jordan’s.

As if things weren’t complex enough with Max’s odd behavior and cost-cutting measures along with F3 and power struggle over F1, CVC’s massive debt-load on F1 and controlling ownership divided among a twisted web of holding companies and trusts, the creation of FOTA, Bernie’s extortion of third world and emerging nations for race venues and sanctioning fees so high they have left F1’s most prestigious, cherished and historical circuits off a race schedule that looks oddly similar to Benny Huang’s air cargo flight route for shipments of ACME rubber novelty items and Hashish. No, this isn’t the F1 most living people remember. It is becoming something insidious and frighteningly unhinged.

That’s not to say that the Ecclestone divorce is a laughing matter. It grieves me that this marriage could not stand the test of time and pressure but what concerns me is this:

Formula 1 is becoming a child in a divorce. All parents involved are concerned about themselves, the division of assets and did I mention power or money? Quite literally now that Slavica has filed for divorce. Here is what I am asking…could we rise above the machinations of a few men and bring back the majesty of Formula 1? Is it too much to recognize that maybe Max and Bernie had their run and with all due respect, they have done pretty well by all involved. It seems that perhaps the machine they built is cracking and self preservation has become the rule of thumb. If it is a scorched-earth policy they live by, as they have seemingly ceased to care for the history of F1 and cobbled a bizarre future together for it, formula 1 will certainly be caught in the flames.

Unfortunately it seems the rumors were true and I do wish both Bernie and Slavica well. Hang on folks, I am not sure how much more of these soap operas F1 can handle…then again, Bernie is Bernie.

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