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And he used to be such a nice, quiet boy

Who is Bernie Ecclestone?

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A lot of people are curious to know more about the man who has the controlling hand behind Formula 1. Along with Max Moseley, Bernie Ecclestone is  styled by the tabloids as the F1  ‘supremo’.

Bernard Charles Ecclestone is the president and CEO of Formula 1 management and Formula 1 administration. He also has a largest stake in Alpha Prema, the parent company of the Formula 1 companies. He is worth no less than £3 Billion in UK sterling.

So how did he start?

Bernie was born in 1930, near Bungay, Suffolk, England. By the time he was 16 the Second World War was over and England was all but bankrupt. Bernie left school at 16 and started working life at a gasworks. In his spare time he pursued his hobby of riding motorbikes. He also traded parts with other riders. Within a few years he and an associate formed the Ecclestone and Compton Motorbike Dealership.

It wasn’t long after this that he tried his hand at racing, in the 500cc Formula 3 championship. The racing bug bit him hard and he purchased a Cooper mark 5 in 1951. Bernie did fairly well in the cockpit, producing more than one podium finish. But he retired early due to commercial pressure. Bernie was, is, primarily a businessman and he could do more for racing out of the cockpit than in it.

After a few years sabbatical he returned to racing in 1957. He became the manager for the driver Stewart Lewis Evans and bought out their Connaught racing team. During the 1958 Monaco Grand Prix he endulged himself and tried to qualify a car for race, alas, unsuccessfully.


Over the 60s and early 70s his power grew as he bought the Vanwall team, and later the Brabham team. It was about this time that his ambitions really took off and he founded the Formula 1 Constructors Association along with Max Moseley, Colin Chapman, Frank Williams, Teddy Mayer and Ken Tyrell.

Soon he spotted something everybody else had missed – nobody controlled the TV rights to Formula 1. It was this matter that would cement his power base within F1.

He teamed up with a race mad lawyer called Max Moseley and set to work founding Formula 1 promotions and administration, giving 47% of revenue to the teams, 30% to the FIA, and 23% to Formula 1 Promotions and Administration – in other words Bernie. In return Bernie provided the prize money for the races. And that, ladies and gentleman, is how you become a multi-billionaire.

And what is the quickest way to lose a million? Thats right, get divorced. It is a sad fact to relate that Bernie and his towering Croatian wife, Slavica, are now officially apart.


Bernie has two daughters, Petra and Tamara, who have their own business interests.


To read Bernie’s full story check out his Wikipedia page at:


Written by Nick Gilmartin

May 7, 2009 at 6:01 pm

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