Magazine article Management Today

Bernie's Grip on the F1 Wheel

Magazine article Management Today

Bernie's Grip on the F1 Wheel

Article excerpt

I once spent a day with Bernie Ecclestone and haven't forgotten it. The 78-year-old ringmaster of the Formula One circus is a unique operator and his like will never be seen again in world sport.

My favourite Bernie anecdote concerns his legendary obsession with order and tidiness; when he owned the Brabham team, all the mechanics had their overall pockets sewn up to avoid losing spanners.

You get on the wrong side of him at your peril. The MT snapper we sent to take his portrait received a right old mouthful when he asked Mr E to stand in a particular position. I recall when we had shepherd's pie in a pub behind his office to the South of Hyde Park - during the course of which he described the legendary Alain Prost as 'All mouth and no balls' - that he paid by pulling a gold money-clip from his back pocket that was thick with fifties. As a business boss, he commands rather than leads.

After lunch, I was asked to step out of his office when Ayrton Senna came rushing in; he was in a right old state about something or other. Bernie sat him down and smoothed things over, sorted it out. I watched the temperamental Senna through the glass, sitting on the sofa and listening to the godfather, being told what was going to happen to ease his pain. …

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