Celebrities in Switzerland: Bernie Ecclestone
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Ecclestone, Bernie (1930 - ) UK / Businessman / BE

The Formula 1 racing tycoon has lived in Gstaad since 1990. Bernie Ecclestone was born in 1930 in Ipswich, England. His father was the captain of a trawler. He quit school at the age of 16 to devote himself fully to his greatest passion: automobile racing.

After several accidents, Bernie Ecclestone stopped competing in 1951. He opted instead to start a used car business and returned to the race track in 1957, but this time as a F1 team manager for Connaught. In 1972, he bought the Brabham team, which earned Nelson Piquet the world championship in 1981 and 1983.

Bernie Ecclestone owes his greatest success, however, to his control over Grand Prix media rights. In the 80s, he took on the financial risks as president of the Formula One Constructors Association. A risk that paid off, since media coverage has slowly but surely built up, drawing with it sponsors and substantial profit.

The "ruler of the F1 roost" sold the Brabham team in 1988. Two years later, he moved to Gstaad, the posh ski resort in the Bernese Oberland. In 1996, he created a new company, Formula One Management, which sells F1 broadcasting rights for the International Automobile Association, located in Geneva.

Bernie Ecclestone has many other projects in the pipeline, such as a pay TV channel. From atop his Bernese tax domicile, he manages an estimated fortune of over 4 billion CHF, making him the wealthiest person in England - outdoing even the Queen.

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