The Central Feature at Goodwood’s Festival of Speed, which in 2017 is presented by Mastercard, will celebrate an individual rather than an honoured marque. This year the giant sculpture n front of Goodwood House will be marking Goodwood and Formula 1’s joint celebration of Bernie Ecclestone’s extraordinary life and career.
The event runs from 29 June to 2 July.
Bernard Charles ‘Bernie’ Ecclestone has been one of the most influential people in f motorsport over the last 40 years, transforming Formula 1, developing the sport into a multi-billion dollar global phenomenon.
“This is not so much a tribute, but rather a Goodwood celebration of a racer who has had such a huge influence on the sport we all love,” said Lord March, the festival’s founder. “It’s wonderful that Bernie has agreed to spend the weekend at the Festival with many of the great names with whom he has worked during a life dedicated to racing. I’m also delighted that he will bring with him some great historic Grand Prix cars from his incredible collection.”
Ecclestone will attend the Festival of Speed along with a host of World Champions, team owners, engineers, designers and mechanics from his life in motor racing.
The Central Feature of the event, a towering sculpture outside Goodwood House, will display cars from the five different chapters of his life, as driver, manager, team owner, impresario and a true legend of the sport.
At heart Bernie Ecclestone remains a racer and motorsport fan. In the late 1940s and early 1950s he raced both motorcycles and cars, entering the Monaco Grand Prix in a Connaught in 1958. He then turned his hand to driver management with both Stuart Lewis-Evans and 1970 World Champion Jochen Rindt.
In late 1971 he bought the Brabham F1 team, forming a highly effective partnership with designer Gordon Murray and drivers including Niki Lauda, Carlos Reutemann, Carlos Pace and Nelson Piquet, who won two World Championships for the team. In 1974, at the request of other team owners, Ecclestone took control of the F1 Constructors’ Association (FOCA) and for the next three decades he guided Formula 1 to become the most watched sport in the world, with 21 races and a global television audience measured in hundreds of millions.
The Festival will explore ‘The Five Ages of Ecclestone’, which represent the five distinct eras of Bernie’s career. Each age will be portrayed on the iconic Central Feature, designed by sculptor Gerry Judah once again, by a different car.
‘The Five Ages of Ecclestone’ are:
A regular competitor in 500cc Coopers during the late-1940s and early- ‘50s, the climax of Bernie’s driving career came in 1958, when he entered the Monaco Grand Prix in a Connaught, having bought the team’s assets the previous year.
After calling time on driving himself, Bernie turned his hand to management, guiding the careers of Stuart Lewis-Evans and Jochen Rindt. The latter became the sport’s only posthumous World Champion in 1970, driving the iconic Gold Leaf Lotus 72.
At the end of 1971, Bernie purchased the Brabham F1 team, forming a formidable partnership with designer Gordon Murray, and drivers including Carlos Pace, Carlos Reutemann, Niki Lauda and Nelson Piquet. The latter took the first of two World Championships for Brabham under Bernie’s ownership in a BT49 in 1981.
Beginning in the 1970s, Bernie took control of Formula 1’s commercial rights, transforming the sport into a truly global powerhouse. The Ferrari F2001 represents Michael Schumacher’s dominance in the early 2000s, when manufacturer involvement reached an all-time high, and blue-chip sponsors sought to benefit from F1’s unrivalled glamour and TV ratings.
Simply, there is only one ‘Bernie’ in motorsport. The 2016 World Championship-winning Mercedes- AMG W07 brings the story of his time in Formula 1 right up to date.
Significant names from Bernie’s life, including World Champions, former Brabham drivers and team members, and team owners past and present, will be at Goodwood, alongside Bernie himself on Sunday July 2nd when there will be a key moment in front of Goodwood House at 3pm.
The 2017 Festival will be a fitting tribute to a man who, through good times and bad, has been an overwhelming power for good in motorsport.