Ecclestone considers F1 bid

Hampshire Chronicle: Bernie Ecclestone is keen to regain full control of Formula One Bernie Ecclestone is keen to regain full control of Formula One

Bernie Ecclestone has revealed he has held talks that could see him buy back Formula One.

The 83-year-old built F1 into the global brand it is today before selling to equity company CVC but now, despite an ongoing German court case in relation to alleged bribery, Ecclestone is keen to set up a bid to take back the sport.

As well as confirming he has held tentative discussions with Donald Mackenzie of CVC, Formula One Management chief executive Ecclestone insists he would continue to run the sport even if a different company came on board.

"I have spoken to Donald Mackenzie and I am looking at it," Ecclestone told the Daily Express.

"It is possible, although one or two other companies are interested and I would not enter an auction. Age does not make it impossible. I feel no different to how I did 40 years ago.

"I have a contract with the company, not the shareholders. I have seen some rubbish about being pushed out but there is no-one lined up to take over."

Known for making multi-million pound decisions on a handshake, Ecclestone admits he would like to go back to his way of business if he were to buy back his stake and feels there is still money to be made from the sport.

"Our company has been a very good investment for CVC and it would be a very good investment for me or anyone who owned it," he said.

"You can make money from it, so it would not be a problem for me to ?nd ?nancial backers. I run it now, but it wouldn't make any difference. It just means I would have to buy the shares. I think the company is a good solid business and a good investment.

"The past couple of years we have been running the business as if CVC were going to ?oat the company.

"So we have run it like a public company, which has limitations. If I bought it I wouldn't think of that. I have always been used to doing things on the spot and, with a public company, it is always about board decisions.

"It can be restrictive, although I must say CVC have been super, they don't tell me how to run it. They have been super-supportive with all my troubles."

Those troubles continue to rumble on as he travels to Germany on a weekly basis, fighting to clear his name.

He has been accused of bribing German businessman Gerhard Gribkowsky during the sale of F1 and, although he is adamant of his innocence, Ecclestone conceded the idea of a prison sentence worries him more than losing his control over Formula One.

"I have two jobs now. One the day job and the other, what I hope is a part-time job in Munich," he added.

"I know that the prisons are full of people who say they are innocent and this is why I am attending in Germany every week because I know I am innocent and I want to clear my name.

"I don't know what the outcome will be but there is no point in worrying. I would rather that bad things don't happen, I would like to think that I can continue to do what I do as long as I am capable.

"Getting locked up would concern me much more than losing control of F1."

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