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Not all of F1 worried about life after Ecclestone UPDATE Given his 80th birthday on Thursday, the issue of who will succeed Bernie Ecclestone as F1 commercial rights boss is becoming more and more pressing.

Ecclestone himself has no plans to retire, though, and once shrugged off the question with a brief "another car dealer."

Ecclestone was a car dealer before he turned Formula One into a billion-dollar event over the past decades.

No one knows whether Ecclestone has already started organizing the future himself, with team union head Martin Whitmarsh saying it was "impossible to predict."

He told Reuters: "Those of us who are still around, if we manage to survive, when he finally is no longer around will have to find a way to bring it together.

"But he (Ecclestone) is not capable of either choosing, grooming or trusting a successor, frankly."

Jean Todt, the head of the ruling motorsport body FIA, said that the issue must be dealt with by the CVC company - which holds the rights and has Ecclestone as managing director - rather than Ecclestone himself.

"The responsibility for the future of Formula One is more with CVC than with Bernie," said Todt. "It is up to them," he said, naming the CVC bosses "wise businessmen."

10/28/10 (GMM) Ross Brawn has revealed he is worried about F1's future without Bernie Ecclestone.

As the sport's long-time 'supremo' turns 80 on Thursday, Brawn admitted he is concerned there is no "structure" in place to replace the diminutive Briton who has steered and shaped F1 for decades.

"We discuss it frequently," he told the Telegraph. "We don't have a solution.

"That is one of our fears. A succession plan for Bernie and (F1's owners) CVC is not clear and is one of the things which teams are always seeking clarity on," said Brawn. 

But Max Mosley, the former long-time FIA president whose career in F1 politics began as Ecclestone's lawyer and sidekick in the 70s, is confident the sport will not implode without him.

"No, it would just be different," he said.

"When I wanted to step down from the FIA in 2004 I was told I couldn't until I had a succession plan. Bernie needs a succession plan too but, secretly, he probably has one," added Mosley.

Mosley hailed Ecclestone as a "master tactician", and another long-time colleague Sir Frank Williams is also full of praise for the wily Briton, an "unparalleled negotiator".

"What would happen if he were gone tomorrow? Well, not to devalue him in any sense, but I would hope formula one would not implode," said Williams.

"Not only has Bernie structured long-term contracts with key parties, but he has placed a robust infrastructure around formula one and helped to populate it with clever people, so a bright, creative successor would emerge, such is the way of the world," he added.
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