F1 team chiefs see role for deposed Ecclestone

Ecclestone's time as the colourful ringmaster of Formula One was effectively finished in January when US-based Liberty Media completed its takeover

Team principals said Friday former powerbroker Bernie Ecclestone still had a role to play in Formula One following the high-profile takeover of the sport by Liberty Media.

Ecclestone's time as the colourful ringmaster of Formula One was effectively finished in January when US-based Liberty Media completed its takeover of motorsport's most prestigious brand in a deal valued at about $8 billion.

There have been complaints that under the 86-year-old Ecclestone, Formula One has failed to move with the times, and the new ownership saw him shunted into an advisory role as "chairman emeritus".

But team principals in Melbourne Friday for the Australian Grand Prix, which kicks off the new Formula One season on Sunday, said he still had a place in glitzy global sport.

"What Bernie's done for Formula One has been amazing," Red Bull chief Christian Horner told a press conference.

"The sport is what it is today because of what he created. I think in the role that he has, he's still going to be in a position to contribute.

"He still has a huge amount of historical knowledge, respect and relationships around the world and I think that harnessed and used in the right way is an asset to Formula One," he said, adding he hoped the new owners can use Ecclestone "constructively".

Ferrari chief Maurizio Arrivabene said F1's strength was down to the work of Ecclestone.

"I think that Bernie deserves all our respect because if we are here and if the sport grows it is thanks to him," Arrivabene told reporters.

"I think that the new group that is owning Formula One is here to make this sport grow even more so there is no future without the good historical base."

As part of the new F1 management structure, new chairman and chief executive Chase Carey will have former Mercedes F1 team boss Ross Brawn and Sean Bratches, once a sales executive with North American sports television channel ESPN, running the sporting and commercial arms of F1 respectively under him.