|Ecclestone does not want to die as F1 CEO. He's better off dying at F1 CEO than behind bars if he loses the court case.|
Bernie Ecclestone has been in the driving seat of Formula One for nearly 40 years but never has his position been under as much scrutiny as in the past few months.
In October the billionaire celebrated his 83rd birthday and promptly found himself in court being cross-examined in a trial surrounding the sale of F1 to its current controlling shareholder, the private equity firm CVC. Since then Ecclestone has spoken out about the possibility of Red Bull Racing boss Christian Horner replacing him – a move which would require the consent of Ferrari as he later revealed to Pitpass' business editor Christian Sylt. Now Ecclestone has challenged one of the most popular beliefs about him and said that he doesn't want to die in F1's hot seat.
Writing in the latest issue of Motor Sport magazine Sylt reports that during Ecclestone's court testimony he revealed that "I don't want to die as CEO. No, I run the company… and as long as I've got control of the company, I will continue to be there. If I find that I haven't got control any more, I will leave and do something else."
It also came out in court that Ecclestone had thought the "ideal person" to succeed him was former Ferrari team principal Marco Piccinini "because he was the manager at Ferrari for 12 years and was close, close, close, close to Mr. Ferrari. So he knew a little bit about business as his parents owned three quite large banks and he was involved in the banks as well."
Unlike Horner, Piccinini came close to taking over the wheel of F1 as he was on the board of the sport's operating company Formula One Management from September 1998 until June 2001.
One of the most significant events which took place over this period of time was that Ecclestone had a triple bypass in 1999. Perhaps ironically, although he has no such health problems now Ecclestone says he does not want to die in the driving seat. It remains to be seen whether he would be happy with someone else doing his job whilst he was still around to watch the proceedings and it is a question which no doubt keeps those business brains at CVC very occupied. Pitpass.com