DECEMBER 6, 2004
Win or lose, Ecclestone is still in charge
Win or lose today in the High Court, Bernie Ecclestone is not going to let his grip on Formula 1 slip that much. The commercial boss of Formula 1 is expected to fight again if he loses the case against the three creditor banks. The banks cannot take control of the running of the sport until they have won other law suits involving the companies directly involved and this could take many months in court. Ecclestone is the meantime will be working to find a compromise to win over the teams and the banks so that a new Concorde Agreement can be put together to avoid the financing of the sport being taken away from him. The banks are thought to be keen on handing the entire business over to the GPWC but there are doubts as to whether the new organization is ready to handle the business and so Ecclestone may stay on even if he has to eventually answer to the bankers. It is also rumoured that Bernie is trying to find a new settlement with the banks although we have been told that they have decided that they will not settle with him at any price and want the business in the hands of the GPWC.
The defeat of Ecclestone in the High Court today (if it happens) may not make any real difference because all the banks will have done is win the right to appoint board members to Formula One Holdings. They do not as yet have control of Formula One Administration and Formula One Management. If Ecclestone gets a favourable result today it will simply mean that the case will go to a full trial, which will only serve to delay matters further.
The general feeling in F1 circles is that the best solution for the sport is a swift decision but there are still many who feel that it would be dangerous to "drop the pilot" as Ecclestone has masterminded the growth of F1 in the last 25 years. Having said that, there has to be a change in the not too distant future because at 74 years of age Ecclestone cannot go on forever and if nothing else he needs to put in place a structure to replace him in the future.
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