Buoyed by the end of his legal troubles, Bernie Ecclestone says he is now determined to never step down as F1 chief executive. Having turned 84 this year, the Briton admits 2014 was particularly difficult as he battled to fight off the Gerhard Gribkowsky scandal that nearly saw him not only nearly deposed, but potentially also in jail.
He won the day with a highly controversial $100 million settlement, and is now once again presiding fully over the F1 kingdom he built almost from scratch. So Ecclestone is no longer intimating his decades-long reign may be nearing an end. Asked by the correspondent for Gulf News, the diminutive Briton replied rhetorically: "When am I going to quit?"
"Sure, it's been a terrible year, one of the worst of my life but, as I have told you often enough before, and nothing has changed, I am staying put," said Ecclestone. "The only way my job in formula one will come to an end, unless somebody with the power decrees it, is when they are carrying me away in my coffin. And then they'd better make sure the lid is nailed down," he added.
As ever with a specific position taken by Ecclestone, however, he does caution that he might change his mind under some circumstances. For instance, he told the BBC recently that while he would like to tweak F1's income distribution, as well as the sporting and technical regulations, "The big problem is that now we run a democracy".
"You know I'm against democracies, with anything," said Ecclestone. "You have a democracy if you don't want to do anything except start a working group. We have to be able to say 'This is how it's going to be'."
Now, he told Gulf News in London: "I have always run the business the way I thought it should be organised. And it has mostly worked. The minute I can't do that, I will quit. I have often flown by the seat of my pants with nobody but myself to turn to. Sometimes I've got it wrong -- but mostly I've got it right. And formula one, and the thousands of people in it, and the many millions of followers worldwide, have been the beneficiaries," he added. (GMM)