Mosley on Ecclestone and Super Bowl…’is that so wonderful?’

Photos courtesy of ‘Zoom Auction/Patrik Lundin
Photos courtesy of ‘Zoom Auction/Patrik Lundin’ Max Mosley (left)

Since acquiring Formula 1, parting company with long-time F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone and appointing Chase Carey, Ross Brawn and Sean Bratches as the new leadership team, Liberty Media have made several comments in the news about their desires for the sport in the future.

One of the more common and continually reported comments made is the desire to ramp up the race weekend and treat each event like a super bowl—referring to American football’s big season-ending battle between the AFC and NFC champions.

I’ve had my own reservations about this kind of approach because I personally find the NFL Super Bowl over-baked and laced with pomp and circumstance that quite honestly teeters on embarrassing. I’m not alone in those concerns as former FIA president Max Mosley also shares a concern over Liberty Media’s penchant for repeating that as a singular goal going forward.

“I think that’s easy to say, it’s not quite clear to me what that means,” Mosley said, per Reuters.

“But the Super Bowl…is that so wonderful? I don’t want to be unkind, but Americans always think they can do everything better than anybody else. And they’re not always right as a lot of recent history shows.”

He may be right in suggesting that the Super Bowl isn’t as wonderful as many in the US think it is. Is this a sporting spectacle that would resonate with Italians, Germans, French, Dutch, British, Malaysian and Australian audiences?

F1 is a global sport and what may appeal in one nation may not appeal in others. What is, perhaps, unfair is to level off at Americans suggesting a level of bravado. America is a big place with 320 million people and not all of them love the Super Bowl panache.

Mosley also felt that F1 would have done well to retain Bernie Ecclestone instead of putting him out to pasture as Chairman Emeritus.

“You’ve always got to be careful, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. But they are fully aware of that,” said Mosley.

“They (Liberty) are serious business people. Whether they can deal with everything better than they could have dealt with it using Bernie for the things he’s good at, and then doing the things that they know about, is an open question. We shall see.”

Let’s be honest, sometimes owners don’t make the best employees and F1’s new owners were always going to face a stark reality of life without Ecclestone at some point. Better to take the lumps, stubbed toes and embarrassment up front and get on with crafting the future than perpetrating confusion amongst the ranks on who is calling what shots. I suspect that is precisely why they hired Ross Brawn as he knows every facet of the sport pretty well—maybe not Ecclestone well but still, he knows where most of the bodies are buried.

Hat Tip: Reuters

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I don’t think Liberty literally wants to make every race like a Super Bowl but more of a reach out to show they have new ideas and want to appeal to a broader fan base. I’m not overly enamored with what the Super Bowl has become but F1 under Eccelstone was stuck and quite frankly, had no strategic direction. It may take Liberty a while to determine what’s best for the sport but hopefully, that’s what they’ll do. I do find Mosley’s comments a bit premature and only signal a future hail storm if Liberty put one foot wrong. At… Read more »


Bernie is the world’s expert without exception on F1 operations. But his model is no longer workable and the cash extraction operations of CVC – which Bernie’s contract required him to service – have caused innumerable problems.

Fred Talmadge

Maybe they want to make it like a Super Bowl so they can have high prices for everything and make lots of money.

Joe Mama

: O


Perhaps it’s un-American to admit that the Super Bowl is a loathsome and embarrassing spectacle. I haven’t watched it for at least 20 years, and every time I give it a try it’s actually kind of painful.

It’s the opposite of what F1 should emulate.

How about just fixing the noise of Formula H(ybrid); providing FOM livestream and maybe archived VoD; and getting rid of the dictatorship/kleptocracy and Tilke circuits? And if LM (and F1) can make it to 2020, how about burning the FIA regulations – both sporting and technical – and starting from a clean and unpoliticized slate?

Paul KieferJr


As a fan of American Football for the past 42 years, I can say without a doubt that there is nothing like the Super Bowl. Were there some clunkers? Sure, but what sport do you know that doesn't have them?

Brave of Mosely to say that about our game from where he is. If he tried to say that in front of millions of Americans….let's just say that it wouldn't go well. :P

charlie white

I have heard others(mostly European) bemoan Liberty Media’s insinuation to making every race a Super Bowl like experience. And they all look at the game itself and that’s incorrect. LM intends to replicate the Super Bowl fan’s experience at the event. I just got back from Houston to the Super Bowl Live and the NFL Experience. 5 days before the big game and downtown Houston was full of people, many from out of town, not all were Patriots or Falcons fans but all football fans. For the 3 days I spent there, there was always something to do or some… Read more »

Negative Camber

At some level, the US has a baked-in NFL crowd so Houston gains from pilgrimage to the event from loyal fans. In F1’s case for Asia-Pac races and even US to some extent, the baked-in audience isn’t there like NFL enjoys.

charlie white

Very true but it is promoted everywhere in the city from the airports to buses and light rail. Liberty wants that type of atmosphere and fan engagement at every F1 race. I heard Montreal has a similar environment when the F1 circus arrives there. In Austin, outside COTA or downtown fan area, you would not be aware of the race


Hi NC,
I’ve never experienced a superbowl so can’t comment on that, but I suspect you’re crediting Ross Brawn with more of a commercial and political overview than he’d claim for himself. I think if LM had wanted someone who understands how Bernie set up and controlled F1, Max Mosley would be the man totalk to.


I don’t think it’s too far-fetched to suggest that one or more of Chase, Ross and Sean insisted that Bernie not have a significant role before agreeing to the join the team.