Following the news that US global media giant, Liberty Media, is to take over Formula 1, Sir Stirling, in an interview with the BBC News on Thursday, said that the sport still needs its current head, Bernie Ecclestone.

Ecclestone, the sport's 85-year-old billionaire chief executive, is to stay in his role for three more years after the US firm agreed to buy a 35.3% stake from CVC Capital in a £3.3bn takeover, and Sir Stirling believes that can only be good for Formula 1.

"He is exceptionally important - thank goodness we've got him for three years," said Stirling.

Ecclestone will be joined at the helm of the sport by new chairman Chase Carey, vice-chairman of 21st Century Fox.

Speaking to BBC Sport on Thursday, Ecclestone joked the pair were "dictators".

Carey added: "This is a great global sport and one where we're just going to keep trying to build on what Bernie's built over the last four decades.

"This is an evolution. We're going to work together. The best businesses are partnerships where people work together as a team."

Stirling, who has retained a keen interest in Formula 1, said that the development under Ecclestone has been exceptional.

"Motor racing now is really good, you look at the pits and they are all nicely organised, and everything works well," he added. "He's done so much for the sport and brought it forward enormously. Look where we are now."

His controlling nature has been advantage to the sport, according to Stirling.

"As long as he controls it properly what does it matter? It's what you need. He's a dictator but he can get it done. It's an amazing thing to see a man like that. He can call anyone up in the world and they will stop what they are doing and speak to him. He's a very big man."