F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has a billion dollar master plan and all along none of us realised that it does not include “young fans”, small teams like Caterham and Marussia, or “tweeting, Facebook and whatever nonsense this is”.
In a staggeringly remarkable interview, the 84 year old Ecclestone claims that there is no point in attracting young fans because they can’t afford anything the sport is promoting. “Now, you’re telling me I need to find a channel to get this 15-year-old to watch Formula 1 because somebody wants to put out a new brand in front of them? They are not going to be interested in the slightest bit,” Ecclestone said in the interview with Campaign-Asia Pacific.
“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.
“That’s what I think. I don’t know why people want to get to the so-called ‘young generation’. Why do they want to do that? Is it to sell them something? Most of these kids haven’t got any money.
It would seem Ecclestone would prefer catering for an audience closer to his own age.
“I’d rather get to the 70-year-old guy who’s got plenty of cash,” he said. “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.”
As if the F1 ringmaster did not already sound outrageous enough, he likened the demise of the Caterham and Marussia F1 Teams to how the Oscar Pistorius trial attracted headlines and said that nobody would miss the two smaller teams.
“Not at all,” he said when asked whether he was concerned about the financially failing smaller teams and the impact that their struggle would have on Formula One.
“Nobody will miss the two teams because they’re not front-running teams,” he continued,. “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.”
The madness did not end there. In a season where Formula One teams and drivers have reached out to fans via social media in an effort to grow the following and success of the sport and engage with fans on a real level, Ecclestone replied, “How are you going to get all the fans to meet these young drivers, who don’t even want to meet their girlfriends?
“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.