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No one wields more power in Formula 1 than Bernie Ecclestone. In Bernie, Susan Watkins explores Bernie’s life from childhood to the present day and documents how his ruthless pursuit of profit and love of motorsport has turned Formula 1 into the global juggernaut it is today.
Most regular Formula 1 watchers will recognise Bernie Ecclestone as the man who is ‘the boss’ of F1, but few will realise quite how far his reach extends nor how long the eighty-year old has been involved in motorsport.
A born wheeler-dealer, Bernie Ecclestone left school at 15 and at 16 started racing and dealing in motorbikes in the late 1940s. One thing led to another and within a few years he was running a dealership and had started to race cars.
By the 1970s, Bernie was running the succesful Brabham F1 team and gradually unifying the teams and wresting control of the F1 calendar away from the circuit promoters. Since then, Bernie’s deal-making ability, vision, passion for motorsport and meticulous attention to detail has turned Formula 1 from an “amateur sport for a bunch of petrolheads”, in the words of former Renault F1 boss Flavio Briatore, to a multi-billion dollar enterprise with global television coverage and a huge following.
Bernie author Susan Watkins is the wife of Professor Sid Watkins, long-time chief medical officer of Formula 1 and a constant presence at all races. The couple’s close relationship with Ecclestone means that Susan Watkins has had unusually good access to her subject – resulting in a fascinating and revealing book.