Former Renault and Benetton F1 boss, Flavio Briatore, i a long-time friend of former F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone and he was nonplussed at the way in which Liberty Media treated a man who spent 40 years of his life building the series into what it is today.
As a thank you, Briatore organized a party for Ecclestone in London and it included many of the major characters in F1. Flavio said:
“Normally, if you invite one hundred people, you have 60 people who confirm they can attend because you are talking about people that are very busy – or who live many thousands of kilometres away.
“But everybody came to London, including Prince Albert of Monaco, Prince Salman of Bahrain, Luca di Montezemolo, Stefano Domenicali, Piero Ferrari, David Coulthard, Max Mosley, Toto Wolff, Niki Lauda, and many other people.
“It was a kind of tribute to Bernie’s career.
“He was not treated well by the new Formula 1 bosses. People forget easily what this man has created.
“It was a bit of a sad evening, but very beautiful.”
In me editorial about Eccelstone’s departure from F1, I spoke of the ease at which many younger fans dismiss the work that Bernie did in making the series what it is. There have been mistakes along the way for sure but the sport would not be what it is today if it were not for the efforts of this used car salesman.
It is nice to see many of F1’s luminaries pay tribute to Ecclestone and I suspect some of whom would not be the people they are without his influence. Anyone guess which person is Niki Lauda?