Of all the big beasts in the F1 jungle, Bernie is the most formidable of all. So it came as absolutely no surprise at all at the Nurburgring over the weekend that he roundly dismissed media speculation that he might be ‘pushed upstairs’ into a background role within the administration of F1 in the wake of his recent unfortunate remarks concerning Adolf Hitler.
In fact, far from being sidelined the 78-year old billionaire powerbroker says he is set to “sort out” the sport’s current problems which all stem, at least in large part, from the need for the world championship to generate sufficient interest to service the $2.8bn (£1.7bn) bond which was launched in 2007 by investors CVC Capital Partners to buy a stake in Ecclestone’s F1 business.
Ecclestone said he hoped that agreement could be reached on a long-term deal which would secure the future of the sport by the middle of this week.
“Any story suggesting I am going anywhere is completely untrue,” he told autosport.com. “I hope to have a (new) Concorde agreement in place by Wednesday. Max (Mosley, the FIA president) will be happy when we have it sorted. He will have achieved everything he set out to achieve, including a new agreement on cost cutting.
“He will then be in a position to do what he said he would do and stand down. But for me, I’ll be around for the future.”
Ecclestone’s sentiments were supported by Donald MacKenzie, the managing partner of CVC, who spent much of the race weekend playing the role of honest broker with Ecclestone, the sport’s governing body, and the Formula One teams’ association. Balancing their various interests has not always been a straightforward task, to put it mildly. But at the end of the day, love him or loathe him, Bernie is the glue without which the F1 business would quickly come badly unstuck.
“There is no question of him moving to an honorary position, or upstairs,” he said. “There has never been any doubt about that. Bernie knows me well enough to know that his position is not under threat. He runs the business and does so very well.”
Mackenzie spent much of the German grand prix weekend attempting to smooth the passage of an agreement for the new Concorde agreement between CVC, the teams’ association FOTA and the sport’s governing body. Meanwhile the teams are keeping their fingers firmly crossed that a level playing field can be established for 2010.
In particular they are trying to coax the FIA into altering its insistence that the three incoming new teams are not forced to use Cosworth engines running to a higher rev limit than all the other engines on the grid. That would create a two-tier Formula One and would not be accepted by FOTA under any circumstances. And then we would be right back at the start of the problem again.Technorati Tags: Formual One, Bernie Ecclestone, Max Mosley, CVC Capital, F1, Formula One, FOTA