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- Updated: August 12, 2017
Former Formula 1 deputy race director Herbie Blash has conceded that Liberty Media has done a stellar job in their first season in charge, but was quick to remind everyone that ex-boss Bernie Ecclestone will not walk away quietly.
Blash exited the sport after 21 consecutive years of service at the end of the 2016 season, with Laurent Mekies taking up the role this season.
Currently, Blash is the director in the Yamaha World Superbike team and also an advisor to a FIA programme aiming to train future race directors.
The former F1 deputy race director says he’s kept a keen eye on the changes Liberty has installed since taking control at the start of 2017 and supports its new direction.
“It is still early days but from what the new owners are talking about, like opening up the paddock, being more fan friendly and dealing with social media is positive which with Bernie it wasn’t happening,” Blash told Crash.net. “I believe opening up F1 will be beneficial to the sport.
“Bernie said himself his role was to make money and he was one of the reasons along with CVC which did an excellent job and for why the sport was sold for what it was. You have to take off your hat on that.
“But Bernie wasn’t working for the fans he was working for the company CVC. The current owners are coming in with a different mindset altogether and it’ll be interesting to watch. Obviously they are new to Formula 1 but having Ross Brawn they’ve got someone who has seen and knows about the sport. I think it is going in the right direction.”
When he was quizzed about whether Ecclestone had given him any insight into his future plans, Blash said that he did not think the F1 supremo will walk away altogether.
“Let’s just say an upset Bernie is a dangerous Bernie,” he said.
Questions about the new vision of the sport were bound to arise and he said that teams now seem more aware than they once were about various aspects of Formula One.
“The whole world of Formula 1 in some aspects has changed,” he said. “The new brigade has arrived. I would class Toto Wolff in as one of those new guys, like Maurizio Arrivabene at Ferrari even though he has been involved at Marlboro for many years. The new guard has taken over from the old guard there is no doubt about that.”