Ecclestone denounces young people’s F1 interests


Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone launched into a bizarre tirade over the weekend claiming that the sport should not appeal to young people as they cannot afford the products exhibited.

“If you have a brand that you want to put in front of a few hundred million people, I can do that easily for you on television. Now, you're telling me I need to find a channel to get this 15-year-old to watch Formula One because somebody wants to put out a new brand in front of them? They are not going to be interested in the slightest bit,” he told Campaign Asia-Pacific magazine.

“Young kids will see the Rolex brand, but are they going to go and buy one? They can't afford it. Or our other sponsor, UBS - these kids don't care about banking. They haven't got enough money to put in the bloody banks anyway”.

Ecclestone went to say that “I'd rather get to the 70-year-old guy who's got plenty of cash. So, there's no point trying to reach these kids because they won't buy any of the products here and if marketers are aiming at this audience, then maybe they should advertise with Disney”.

Asked by interviewer Atifa Silk about the use of social media as a tool to garner interest, already used by the majority of teams and drivers, Ecclestone said that more use should be made, but added “I’m not interested in tweeting, Facebook and whatever this nonsense is. I tried to find out but in any case I’m too old-fashioned.

“I couldn’t see any value in it. And, I don’t know what the so-called ‘young generation’ of today really wants. What is it? You ask a 15- or 16-year-old kid, ‘What do you want?’ and they don’t know. They say the kids watch things on [tablets and phones], but it doesn’t mean they’re watching Formula One. And even if they are today, will they still watch it when they are 40?”

Regarding sport’s spiralling costs, which has seen tail enders Marussia closing its doors and Caterham resorting to crowd funding to compete in this weekend’s season ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix  - both having missed the US and Brazilian legs of the season – Ecclestone said, “Not at all. Nobody will miss the two teams because they’re not front-running teams.

“They’ve only got a name that people would know because of the problem they’re in. If you want to get recognised you’ve got to do something”.

“This poor guy in South Africa [Oscar Pistorius], for instance, has got more interest because of what happened with him than when he was winning gold medals. He won medals and afterwards nobody thought about him. If this case hadn’t happened he would have been forgotten, probably. Same with these two teams.

“You need teams like Ferrari. If you go anywhere and you say to somebody ‘Ferrari’, they’ll know what you’re talking about. If you say ‘Marussia’, they won’t. So that’s it. It’s brands again, isn’t it? Ferrari’s a brand and it’s a brand that’s particularly connected to a product and it’s known for that product.”

Eccletone’s comments were met with severe backlash on social media with former F1 driver, racing driver and current Fifth Gear presenter, Tiff Needell, tweeting “Been reading Bernie's latest rant! So how many of his 70 year olds buy Red Bull??”

User @AlexCoatesy tweeted, “Quite petrifying how a man so rich can be so, so stupid,” while @MikeDelaney917 said, “Reading the entire interview. Is this the set list of some standup comedian? If it wasn't tragic it would be hilarious”. 


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