Whitmarsh: Formula 1 needed 'fresh ideas'
26 January 2017 – Formula 1's new owner, Liberty Media, will bring much-needed "fresh ideas" to the sport after completing its $8billion takeover, according to former McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh.
Liberty, which took control on Monday, has installed Chase Carey as CEO, in place of Bernie Ecclestone, with Ross Brawn and Sean Bratches assuming sporting and commercial roles.
Brawn has already outlined plans to create "a healthy Formula 1 from top to bottom", while Bratches wants to improve branding, digital aspects, partner relations and event experience.
"It's a new era, but it's been a long time coming; I don't think anyone's particularly surprised," Whitmarsh, who now heads up America's Cup team Land Rover BAR, told Sky Sports.
"I think that there comes a time in any enterprise, in any sport where perhaps it's time for fresh ideas and fresh new views, and I think Formula 1 has probably reached that point.
"I'm a Formula 1 fan still and it's nice watching it from afar to be honest.
"I loved it, I was in it for 25 years, but it's nice watching it from afar, and I intend to continue watching it from afar, but it's going to grow and develop – live sporting content is so valuable."
Whitmarsh, who left McLaren in 2014, also praised Ecclestone, who will now act as Chairman Emeritus of Formula 1, despite a number of run-ins when they were both in the paddock.
"I think you've got to give Bernie lots of credit, because he was really the driving force in the early days of Formula 1, and he's got that twinkle of charm about him," Whitmarsh added.
"I was one of his biggest enemies on lots of occasions, but you can't help but like the guy."
Ecclestone, 86, served as Formula 1's CEO for almost four decades.