F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone celebrates his 80th birthday today and he is adamant he still has no intention of slowing down.
Ecclestone, who has made a fortune through his astute running of F1, joked that he won't ever retire as he can't afford to: "Retire? Why? I need the money, I can't afford to retire," he told Reuters
on Sunday ahead of the inaugural Korean Grand Prix.
"I don't worry. Age is nothing. People make me laugh when they talk about one year to the next year. One day you're one age and a day later you're another age. It's all nonsense. I'm like Obama, I like to move forward."
A number of those in the paddock meanwhile have paid tribute to the billionaire, including Sir Frank Williams
- boss and part-owner of the Williams
F1 team and Mercedes Grand Prix team boss, Ross Brawn.
"F1 would be far less geographically prominent, with a far more modest TV footprint and altogether therefore less commercially viable than it is today without Bernie," Williams
told The Telegraph
. "He is without doubt the principle architect of our global expansion and success."
"He is a phenomenon. Nothing comparable," Brawn added. "[He is] the main reason why the sport is where it is today.
"I don't buy the theory that he has ripped the soul out of the sport. Bernie loves the sport. Ultimately he is the guy who is bankrolling some of the teams who are not paying all their bills. If he was completely ruthless he would just tell them 'tough'.
"You could argue he needs a full grid but I believe he loves F1, he loves the life he leads. There is a heart under there."
Former FIA president Max Mosley concurs: "Bernie loves the sport and he has been able to make it a huge commercial success by promoting the sort of racing he himself likes. He understands what the fans want because he wants it too," Mosley concluded.