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SBD Global/July 9, 2012/People and Pop Culture

Interview With F1 Boss Bernie Ecclestone

At age 81 and five-feet, three-inches, F1 boss BERNIE ECCLESTONE is still motorsports' "Mr Big." In an interview with the London DAILY MAIL's Jonathan McEnvoy, Ecclestone touched on a wide range of F1 issues. McEnvoy wrote the Englishman is "spry," he sleeps six-and-a-half hours a night and "works ferociously hard when he is awake." Ecclestone knows the private equity firm CVC, which owns F1, is pondering the long term. Regarding his boss CVC CEO Donald Mackenzie, he said, "Donald is happy about me doing what I do. But what to do when I'm gone is a concern for him. If I'm dead or if I run away, he'll obviously need to sort out some kind of succession."

WHEN WILL HE STOP?: "Past 100, I'm definitely out, I don't know who should do it -- honestly there's nobody I despise enough that I would wish this on them."

LONDON GRAND PRIX: "A long time ago we really looked at it properly with the old mayor and a lot of people from the City. I said, I need you guys to put some money in because it will obviously be bringing a lot of money in. They did eventually decide they could, possibly, find £3M -- perhaps. I said with the number of meetings we'd need to have it wouldn't pay for the mineral water so we need to get serious, which we never did. Then this other thing came up, which was a Santander publicity stunt. They devised a computer-generated London race. They showed me their idea two or three months ago and said, It looks good. It looks exciting. It's good publicity for the British Grand Prix and Santander. I said you're bloody right it is. And before I knew it I was apparently the one who was behind it. I didn't know about it to be honest, but I accepted the credit."

GERMAN JAILTIME: You would "little know from his demeanour" that he is connected to a bribery case in Germany. A case case that has seen one of his former bankers, Gerhard Gribkowsky jailed for eight and a half years. Regarding the possibility of going to jail he said, "No. I don't think I'd like it, so why would I go? Seriously, it's nothing to do with us. My lawyers say we shouldn't discuss it."

FIGHT OF THE CONCORDE: He also revealed the '13-20 Concorde Agreement, the "contract that binds the teams, Ecclestone's commercial rights holders and the governing FIA to the sport, is agreed in all its commercial elements." He said, "Total agreement. We are just talking to the lawyers. Typical lawyers but everything's fine. Commercially it's done" (DAILY MAIL, 7/6).
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