About the Author
a laboratory assistant at the local gasworks. His passion was motorcycle scrambling and he began competing in the immediate postwar era. As machinery was scarce he began buying and selling motorcycle spare parts, doing the business during his lunch break. He built the business up to become one of Britain's biggest motorcycle dealers. In 1949 he tried his hand a four-wheeled racing, but after a big accident, he decided to concentrate on his business, which grew to include a car auction firm, loan financing and property. In 1957 Ecclestone returned to the sport as a manager. After one of his drivers died after an accident at the end of the year, Ecclestone quit the sport, but he was persuaded to return as driver Jochen Rindt's manager in the late 1960s. In September 1970 Rindt was on his way to winning the World Championship for Lotus when he was killed in an accident at Monza. He became posthumous World Champion, and Ecclestone once again took a sabbatical. In an effort to get the sport more organized he was one of the founders of the Formula One Constructors Association (FOCA) in 1974. He led the team owners in a battle with the FIA in 1975 for a new system of entries and appearance money being paid to all the teams. In 1976 the teams won the battle and there began to be trouble over the sale of TV rights. In January 1978 Ecclestone became CEO of FOCA. The battle for the commercial control of the sport continued until March 1981 when the Concorde Agreement gave FOCA the right to negotiate TV contracts The F1 TV rights originally belonged to all the teams but in the early days the business was risky and not very profitable. Ecclestone gradually distanced himself from the other team owners and eventually they allowed him to establish Formula One Promotions and Administration to manage the TV and promotional rights for them. Ecclestone used his brilliant business mind and negotiating ability to effectively take control of the sport, turning his now family owned business into a tremendously profitable organization. After a series of controversies, and disquiet among the F1 teams, Ecclestone sold the majority of his shares in the business, but even though the Ecclestone family now owns only 25% of the business, despite heart surgery in June 1999 Ecclestone remains firmly in charge of F1, and is the man credited with transforming F1 from a gentleman's sport into a global phenomenon. Compiled and edited by a team of leading Formula One journalists, and featuring written contributions from drivers, team principals and technical directors.