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MAY 31, 2008

Bernie gives his judgement

Bernie Ecclestone has been skating along in recent weeks trying not to stir up trouble without alienating his old pal Max Mosley, but with just a few days to go before the vote of confidence in Mosley, Ecclestone has finally nailed his colours to the mast.

"Since the story broke I have been under enormous pressure from the people who invest in Formula 1, sponsors and manufacturers, over this issue," Ecclestone told the Daily Telegraph. "They point out that as a chief executive or chief operating officer of a major company they would have gone either immediately, or within 24 hours, in the same circumstances. They cannot understand why Max has not done the same.

"Max is a strong man. Once he makes a decision he sticks to it. He feels that there is still important work to do at the FIA. But in my view there is a way to accomplish this and retire at the end of the year at the FIA general assembly in November. I would be happy to sit at his side to help him to achieve that. He should stand down out of responsibility for the institution he represents, including F1. Everyone who I speak to in a position of authority across F1 rings me to say he should leave. It is regretful that he has not made that decision."

"The big problem is that he can no longer represent the FIA worldwide because of these incidents. The general feeling is that people would no longer be comfortable speaking to him in the same way. I have spoken to Max about this and advised him to stand down in November and not to go to the vote next Tuesday."

The newspaper said that Ecclestone used his wife's birthday celebration in Monaco as an illustration.

"My wife had invited Max to her birthday party," he said. "She was told to ask Max not to appear because of the embarrassment it might cause to a number of corporate guests. She was extremely upset about that but she accepted she had to speak to him. It was very difficult for her to do that.

"Max is being punished for the wrong reasons. He has done a first-class job as president. Like all of us he has made some mistakes but 90 per cent of the decisions he has taken have been to the benefit of all. He deserves to be remembered for all the positive work he has done, not for an expose in a tabloid newspaper. That is why he should announce his decision to resign now and not go through with a vote of confidence. That is not in his best interests, the FIA's or the sport's."