Former F1 deputy FIA race director Herbie Blash is impressed with the sport's new guard but insists Bernie Ecclestone is still lurking in the background.
A close ally for decades of the former F1 supremo, with a relationship that goes back to the Brabham days, Blash retired at the end of last season but still retains an active link with motorsport, working as a representative of the Yamaha World Superbike team and as an advisor to the FIA.
A distinguished member of Formula 1's old guard, Blash is impressed by what he's seen so far from Liberty Media, the new owners of the sport.
"It is still early days but from what the new owners are talking about, like opening up the paddock, being more fan friendly and dealing with social media is positive which with Bernie it wasn’t happening," Blash told Crash.net.
"I believe opening up F1 will be beneficial to the sport. Bernie said himself his role was to make money and he was one of the reasons along with CVC which did an excellent job and for why the sport was sold for what it was. You have to take off your hat on that.
"But Bernie wasn’t working for the fans he was working for the company CVC.
"The current owners are coming in with a different mindset altogether and it’ll be interesting to watch.
"Obviously they are new to Formula 1 but having Ross Brawn they’ve got someone who has seen and knows about the sport. I think it is going in the right direction."
Interestingly, Blash suggested that Ecclestone, who inherited the title of chairman emeritus after he was ousted from F1 by Liberty Media, is still lurking in the wings.
"Let’s just say an upset Bernie is a dangerous Bernie," he said.