Bernie Ecclestone has bluntly refuted suggestions that his position at CVC Capital Partners is under threat in the wake of his controversial comments seemingly praising Adolf Hitler and Saddam Hussein as model leaders who could 'get things done' – and insisted that he would have a resolution in place to definitely head off a Formula One Teams' Association (FOTA) breakaway series by Wednesday.
It was reported over the weekend that the British billionaire had ruffled more than a few feathers at CVC – of which he is chief executive – with his inflammatory remarks, particularly with leading members Sir Martin Sorrell and Peter Brabeck both being Jewish.
It was claimed that the European private equity firm, which owns F1's commercial rights, was planning a bid to oust him [see separate story – click here
] – but Ecclestone is adamant that nothing could be further from the truth, pointing out that whilst his long-time friend, ally and business associate Max Mosley may be preparing to step down from his role as FIA President later this year, he himself is going nowhere.
What's more, the 78-year-old contended that after several nearly-but-not-quite rapprochements
between the warring factions of F1's governing body and the FOTA dissenters, he is confident of securing a lasting peace deal on Wednesday, when another meeting is due to take place to thrash out the final technical and sporting regulations for 2010 and sign a new binding Concorde Agreement.
“Any stories suggesting I'm going anywhere are completely untrue,” Ecclestone is quoted as having said by AFP
. “I don't know where they came from.
“I hope to have a Concorde Agreement in place by Wednesday. Max will be happy when we have it sorted. He will have achieved everything he set out to achieve, including a new agreement and cost-cutting. He will then be in a position to do what he said he would do and step down – but as for me, I'll be around for the future.”
CVC managing partner Donald Mackenzie echoed the Formula One Management (FOM) chief executive's assertion, denying all talk of Ecclestone retiring to instead take up an honorary position within the organisation and admitting to concerns at the Hitler and Saddam remarks – but underlining that the situation has now been dealt with and forgotten.
“Bernie Ecclestone will remain in post,” he told The Guardian
. “There's no question of moving him into an honorary position or upstairs. There has never been any doubt about that.
“There have been no meetings to discuss it. Bernie knows me well enough to know his position is not under threat. He runs the business and does so very well.
“We did not like what he said about Hitler. He knows that and it was dealt with. That's the end of the matter. There never was anything more to it than that.”