More than a year after avoiding jail over a corruption scandal, Bernie Ecclestone says his path is clear to keep running Formula 1.
“I don’t want to walk away from something that I have been involved in all these years,” the Briton, who turns 85 next month, told the New York Times. “At the moment, with our shareholders, zero problem, and I more or less run things as if it was my company. So it’s good.”
What the F1 chief executive is not happy about, however, is the decision-making governance of the sport, presided over by the democratic processes involving the Strategy Group, and Jean Todt.
Unlike Todt’s predecessor, the much more confrontational and dictatorial Max Mosley, Ecclestone and the current FIA president do not always see eye-to-eye.
Ecclestone admits that he would like to change many of F1’s rules fundamentally, but is hamstrung by an FIA president who likes to keep a low profile.
“Jean and myself, if he would, we could say ‘These are the rules, forget the teams, forget anybody. These are the rules, if you want to be in the world championship, these are the rules’, but Jean doesn’t want to upset people. He wants everyone to be happy and everyone to agree.”
So the Ecclestone-Mosley dictatorship of the past is now gone, replaced by democracy, which the 84-year-old admits he is no fan of in any context, “We have allowed this to creep into things, which we should never have done.”
So if he has a regret, it might be that F1 lost Mosley, Ecclestone admitted, “I suppose I regret we lost Max. It’s nothing wrong with Mr Todt. Because in fairness he doesn’t do anything in Formula 1, doesn’t interfere. So he’s not causing trouble.”