Ecclestone dismisses young fans and discusses ballet in latest interview

Bernie Ecclestone 2012 Bahrain

Bernie Ecclestone has attracted significant attention today following an interview with Campaign Asia-Pacific.

In a rare in-depth conversation, Ecclestone spoke on a number of F1 topics - as well as his issues with ballet.

Asked if social media could help F1, Ecclestone was unmoved.

"I'm not interested in tweeting, Facebook and whatever this nonsense is," he replied.

"I tried to find out but in any case I'm too old-fashioned. I couldn't see any value in it. And, I don't know what the so-called 'young generation' of today really wants. What is it?

He added: “How are you going to get all the fans to meet these drivers, who don't even want to meet their girlfriends?”

Ecclestone was also unimpressed by the idea of attracting young fans as they do not have the disposable income required to buy the products advertised in the sport.

"Young kids will see the Rolex brand, but are they going to go and buy one? They can't afford it. Or our other sponsor, UBS — these kids don't care about banking. They haven't got enough money to put in the bloody banks anyway.

"That's what I think. I don't know why people want to get to the so-called 'young generation'. Why do they want to do that? Is it to sell them something? Most of these kids haven't got any money.

"I'd rather get to the 70-year-old guy who's got plenty of cash. So, there's no point trying to reach these kids because they won't buy any of the products here and if marketers are aiming at this audience, then maybe they should advertise with Disney."

Ecclestone subsequently equated the plight of recently sidelined F1 teams Caterham and Marussia with the Oscar Pistorius trial.

"Nobody will miss the two teams because they're not front-running teams; they've only got a name that people would know because of the problem they're in," said the former Brabham boss.

"If you want to get recognised you've got to do something. This poor guy in South Africa [Oscar Pistorius], for instance, has got more interest because of what happened with him than when he was winning gold medals. He won medals and afterwards nobody thought about him."

Ecclestone also drifted from the topic of entertainment in F1 to ballet, in particular the fact that the dancers are too small.

"If I asked people who like ballet if they wanted to go to a Formula One race, they wouldn't particularly want to go. We don't know what people like and don't like. Maybe if I tried it, I'd love ballet. I just can't understand the reason why they have these girls dancing on their toes. Why don't they get taller girls. It'd be so much easier."

And when asked what makes F1 special, Ecclestone came to a surprising conclusion. Initially answering that “People like winners and losers,” he then moved on to a recent criticism of the sport: the new cars’ lack of noise.

"What's popular one year, isn't the next. Now, there's not much noise from these cars as there used to be, so people are complaining. The good old days were actually the best. But that's how people are.

"Women in particular like to criticise," he concluded.

The full interview can be read here.