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AUGUST 21, 2000

Bernie's secrets to remain hidden

PLANS to publish a book revealing Bernie Ecclestone's mysterious world of Formula One have been cancelled after the Grand Prix supremo made a call to its author.

A report in a British Sunday newspaper said that the book, called 'Bernie's Game', was written by Terry Lovell. The investigative reporter had delved deep into Ecclestone's private finances to reveal how his empire has developed from his days as a used car salesman.

It also investigated the £1 million donation Ecclestone made to the Labour party, which the book apparently claims was done to ensure F1's exemption from tobacco advertising bans.

Lovell was commissioned to write the book in 1997, but in February 1998, Ecclestone, who has not actually seen the book, gave him a call to allegedly make it clear that he was not happy with the book being published.

Ecclestone and his second wife Slavica are among the richest people in Britain, and the 69-year-old businessman has controlled F1 for the last 20 years. During this time, he has made a number of lucrative deals which are questioned in the book, but Ecclestone has given his 100% honor that he has never cheated anyone in his life.

Lovell's research involved 65 different interviews with former drivers, team owners, as well as Ecclestone's sister, his first wife, and their daughter, and it was Lovell's intrusion into the family of the Grand Prix boss that apparently upset him.

The book was due to be published by Little, Brown, but the company's lawyers have delayed the book since its completion over 18 months ago. During that time, they had received a number of letters from the lawyers of both Ecclestone and the FIA president Max Mosley.

Although publishers Little, Brown says it believes the issues could have been resolved, is has now agreed to cancel the book, citing time-sensitive issues as the reason it has not been released. Its author is now looking to take the book to other publishing houses.