Goodwood Festival of Speed 2017 Will Celebrate Bernie Ecclestone

The controversial ex-leader of Formula One will be honored June 29 to July 2.

Spanish F1 Grand Prix
Mark Thompson—Getty Images

Lord March and his crew at Goodwood have decided to honor longtime Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone at this year's Festival of Speed, according to ReutersAs opposed to celebrating a specific automaker or brand, the event will reflect on the public figure's career and commemorate his influence on the world of motorsports. Regardless of your stance on Ecclestone's legacy, the former F1 head had a big hand in making racing the way it is today.

Ecclestone started his tenure with F1 in 1972 when he purchased the Brabham team. He ran the operation for 15 years, eventually gaining a stake in the company as a whole. His transition of the sport from merely a racing series to a global business model has brought Formula One to another level of competition, broadcasting it to nation's across the world and appealing to even the most competitive contenders.

"This is not so much a tribute, but rather a Goodwood celebration of a racer who has had such a huge influence on the sport that we all love," said Lord Charles March, according to Reuters. "Now that Bernie has stepped aside from running Formula One, he has agreed to spend the weekend at the Festival with many of the great names with whom he has worked during a life dedicated to racing.

"It's his first visit to the Festival and he will bring with him some great historic Grand Prix cars from his incredible collection."

The theme will be dubbed "Five Ages of Ecclestone" in honor of his stint as a racer, team owner, and eventual boss. 

After relinquishing his position at the helm of Formula One in January, Ecclestone has taken to the sidelines and acted as "chairman emeritus". With Liberty Media now in charge of operations, current chief executive Chase Carey has directed the sport towards the fans and invested heavily in crowd interaction. Ecclestone still serves as a member of the advisory board, and his voice is surely a strong one for the operation.

His impact on racing and how it's conducted has set a standard over the past 50 years, one that continues on even after his exit.