Bernie Ecclestone has warned that the current difficulties he is facing - and the backlash from fans and authorities alike - will not cause him to rethink his role within F1.
The octogenarian has been on the receiving end of criticism from British race fans after revealing that he had sold the rights to television coverage for 2012 and beyond to subscription channel Sky Sports
, and is also at the centre of a bribery investigation amid claims that he paid a substantial amount of money to German banker Gerhard Gribkowsky during the sale of F1's ownership to investment firm CVC.
Shrugging off suggestions that he could be facing time in prison for his actions, Ecclestone insisted that he was far from worried by the accusations, claiming that he was merely protecting himself from an unscrupulous individual who, as he put it, was 'shaking him down'.
“I don't worry about this a bit. The end [for me]? Of course not,” he told Britain's Daily Express
newspaper, "I will be doing what I do best for a while yet - making good deals to keep a lot of people happy and well off in F1. Some might not want me to continue, but I enjoy what I do. That is what I'll be judged on. If I can keep delivering, that's all I need to do."
Recent reports claimed that former Renault
F1 team boss, and Ecclestone's co-owner at Queens Park Rangers football club, Flavio Briatore had also been involved in 'paying off' Gribkowsky, but the Briton insisted that his friend had had no direct role.
"In no shape or form is Briatore involved in this," Ecclestone said, "He did make a payment for me, but only because I asked him after this man threatened to make trouble for me and said he did not want the money paid direct from the UK. Briatore did me a favour and, far from being dragged into this, I told the German prosecutor about it. That is how his name has appeared."