With his round glasses and Andy Warhol haircut, Bernie Ecclestone has been heading up Formula One since 1978 and almost four decades down the track remains in the thick of the action.
F1 Supremo, businessman and courter of controversy, Bernard Charles 'Bernie' Ecclestone was born on October, 28 1930 and as of 2015 has a net worth of $3.8 billion.
After the Second World War ended, Ecclestone initially started a business trading spare parts for motorcycles before going on to try out competing within the motorsport industry himself, with his first experience in 1949 in a 500cc Formula 3 series.
However, after a series of accidents he temporarily left motorsport and turned his hand to business matters. After a series of successful investments in property and loans, he returned to racing again in 1956 and went on to manage a driver called Stuart Lewis-Evans and even purchased two chassis from the disbanded Connaught F1 team.
In 1972, after being approached by owner of the Brabham Team, Ron Tauranac, who was looking for a suitable business partner, he bought the whole Brabham team for £100,000, which he ran for 15 years.
Founded in 1960 by two Australians, driver Jack Brabham and designer Ron Tauranac, the team was in good shape and had won four Drivers' and two Constructors' World Championships in its 30-year Formula One history. Ecclestone eventually sold the business to Joachim Luht for over $5 million.
Running alongside his role as owner of a team, Ecclestone set up the Formula One Constructors Association (FOCA) in 1974 with Frank Williams, Colin Chapman, Teddy Mayer, Ken Tyrrell, and Max Mosley. He became more and more involved with his roles at FISA and the FOCA in the 1970s, and was the driving force behind the negotiation of the sport’s television rights.
In 1978, Ecclestone became chief executive of FOCA and finally managed to secure the right for FOCA to negotiate television contracts for the Grand Prix.
Formula One Promotions and Administration was established and gave 47% of television revenues to teams, 30% to the FIA, and 23% to FOPA (i.e. Ecclestone himself); in exchange for FOPA funding the prize money. Grand Prix is translated directly from French as 'big prize'.
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