Formula 1 mag heading for the pits

Formula 1: owned by Ecclestone

Billionaire and motor racing tycoon Bernie Ecclestone is understood to have closed his Formula 1 magazine, resulting in job losses for staff.

The team were told the news at 5pm on Friday and, according to insiders, it came as “an absolute bolt from the blue”.

Formula 1 underwent a major relaunch last year under new editor Matt Franey. Ecclestone hoped to seize market leadership from Haymarket’s F1 Racing by increasing the number of UK subscribers and widening its overseas distribution with the launch of foreign-language editions. But Franey quit after six months, denying rumours Ecclestone wanted to take full control and edit the title himself.

The magazine provoked controversy on the grand prix circuit under founding editor Tom Rubython, who fell out with several teams over its content. The title has since adopted more of a lifestyle approach, rather than dealing with the politics of F1.

Its latest ABC was 70,000 but the figure relied heavily on bulks, with news-stand sales falling.

A source said: “Although the TV viewing figures for the sport were good at the end of last year, as a magazine sector we have seen a dip in sales.”

Some claim the team are considering taking the title to Emap but nothing has been confirmed.

Ecclestone was unavailable for comment.

By Ruth Addicott

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