FEBRUARY 2, 2001
Ecclestone not quitting for car manufacturers
FORMULA ONE ringmaster Bernie Ecclestone has said he has no intentions of selling his controlling stake in the sport to car manufacturers.
Ecclestone, 70, was reportedly ready to sell his 50 per cent stake in SLEC, the family trust through which Ecclestone holds the reins of power for Formula One, to car manufacturers Renault, Fiat, BMW, Ford and Mercedes.
But Ecclestone, who is now Britain's sixth richest individual, revealed that the manufacturers want a say in how the sport is run, rather than the controlling rights.
"They don't want control, they simply want to be sure of their security," Ecclestone said in the British newspaper The Express.
"They have a big investment in Formula One and they just want to be sure that some lunatic is not going to be in charge without their say-so.
"I don't blame them, it is what they should do. As long as the car manufacturers don't squabble among themselves, which I don't think they will, I believe that as long as I am healthy and can continue what I do now, they are delighted.
"If I am no longer here, dead or whatever, they need to be in a position to say: 'This is the new guy we want to run the business'. They are talking with the trust on making it happen and I have been helping on day-to-day practical matters. We all want it to happen."
Ecclestone said that the car manufacturers would almost certainly appoint a chief executive to act on their behalf but added that he had no idea who they would hand the role to.
He added: "I think the manufacturers will go with a chief executive and I believe it has to be someone inside the sport who knows the ins and outs of the business.
"Who that would be I don't know, but it is logical. I don't know, who could do it but maybe someone else would have a different style, but I think it is still an entrepreneurial job."
German media giant EM.TV holds 50 per cent of the shares in SLEC and the consortium of car manufacturers were linked with buying those shares last year.
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