Bernie Ecclestone has launched a scathing attack on CVC Capital Partners board member Sir Martin Sorrell, describing him as 'a terribly minor shareholder' and suggesting that if he is so disapproving of the Formula One Management (FOM) chief executive's running of F1, he should have a go at doing so himself.
In the wake of Ecclestone's remarks that disgraced former Renault F1 managing director Flavio Briatore's unlimited ban from the sport over 'Singapore-gate' was too 'harsh' a judgement and suggestion that the flamboyant and controversial Italian should appeal against the decision, Sorrell accused the 78-year-old of being 'totally out of touch with reality' [see separate story – click here
], having previously lambasted the British billionaire's infamous comments earlier this year that seemingly praised Adolf Hitler as a man who was able to 'get things done' as 'disgusting'.
Now, however, Ecclestone has risen to the bait and responded to the criticism, rubbishing fears that his position as chief executive of CVC's F1-related companies is in jeopardy and speculation that the outspoken Sorrell is trying to mastermind a coup to force him out, whilst belittling the standing of the CEO of communications services group WPP within the organisation as well as his grasp of what is actually happening.
“CVC are supportive of me,” urged the sport's commercial rights-holder, speaking to the Daily Telegraph
. “They always have been. Martin is a non-executive director, nothing more than that. If he does not like the way things work, I've got an idea – why doesn't he come in to run it? How long would it last then?
“I am on the World Motor Sport Council. I was in Paris while he was probably back in London. How can he know all the evidence? I don't want to say what Martin is – I'm sure I would get a writ.”
“He is not in a position to get rid of me in any shape or form,” Ecclestone added in an interview with The Times
. “He is on the board, but he is a terribly minor shareholder and he has a very minority say. He's supporting, I think, his religion against me making a little bit of a stupid statement some time ago, which just wasn't a stupid statement really – it was misinterpreted.
“I'm certainly not going to let Martin Sorrell tell me what to say any more than I would stop him saying what he wants to say. I would just hope that people think I am a bit brighter than he is and would listen to me rather than him.”