"Bart" Ecclestone to exploit F1 intellectual property rights

YOU'VE heard of the Simpsons, well here comes "Bart" Ecclestone! F1's commercial rights holder is set to be immortalized in a Simpsons-style television carton series based on Grand Prix racing.

According to a report published in the SUNDAY TIMES newspaper, it will be set 300 years in the future and is billed as Futurama-meets-Wacky Racers-and-the-Simpsons.

The project will be funded by television companies Granada and Chrysalis which are already currently involved in producing F1 coverage. This is being regarded as classic example of the commercial potential still to be unlocked by Ecclestone in terms of cashing in on the huge intellectual property rights which are associated with his F1 brand.

The Managing Director of Chrysalis Television, Neil Duncanson, was initially contacted by Ecclestone whose team had come up with the original concept. "He had got this plan, which we then developed," explained Duncanson. "He was sceptical about being a character, but we managed to persuade him. The thing will fly.

"It will be what we think F1 might be like in the future in a fun format which will be quite gladiatorial with drivers racing for different universes." It is also reported that one of the fictional drivers, Johnny Apex, will wear an eye patch as he is blind in one eye.

The green light for this project, in which about $12 million has already been invested, was given in secret last month. Production is scheduled to start during the summer at Cosgrove Hall, the award-winning animation studio which made Dangermouse and Bill and Ben.

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