SBD/October 19, 2010/People and Pop Culture

Ecclestone Remains Committed To F1 Ahead Of 80th Birthday

Ecclestone Has No Plans To Step Aside As F1 Management Chair
F1 Management Chair BERNIE ECCLESTONE "will turn 80 next week," but it is "obvious that the billionaire controller of Formula One is concerned less with his age than a relentless schedule before the controversial first grand prix in South Korea this Sunday," according to Donald McRae of the GUARDIAN. Ecclestone "will be working on his birthday because he cannot imagine himself retiring before he dies." He "smiles when asked if he still expects to rule Formula One in another 10 years, aged 90." Ecclestone: "Yes! The way I feel at the moment, why stop? I do it because I enjoy it. And yesterday is gone. I don't care what happened yesterday." Ecclestone "has always believed he has the right to reshape Formula One by moving into countries with no previous tradition of racing -- as long as they pay him enough money." He "runs racing as his personal fiefdom," and "for 32 years he has controlled Formula One, amid increasing accusations that he has stripped racing of its soul." He has been "involved in Formula One for 53 years," and "as a former team owner who won the world title three times with Brabham, surely he retains some passion for racing over money." Ecclestone: "We used to have 16 races. There's 19 this year and next year, with India, it will be 20. There's no magic number -- it's what is commercially viable." McRae notes the "addition of Texas and Russia will raise the amount of potential races" to 22, but Ecclestone said, "I think we'll find a way to keep it to 20 somehow." Meanwhile, McRae writes Ecclestone "has never worried much about public opinion." When asked if he lost "any sleep last year after describing Hitler as a politician who was 'able to get things done,'" Ecclestone said, "Not at all. I knew what I meant" (GUARDIAN, 10/19).
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