Bernie Ecclestone has insisted that he wishes to take no personal involvement in either the preparation or running of the 2012 Olympics to be held in London – suggesting that the event will be a disaster and would be better off being axed, and even going so far as to joke that planners should 'pray there's an earthquake or something' to prevent the games from taking place.
The Formula 1 supremo was an interested spectator during last month's spectacular, no-expense spared Beijing Olympics – from which Great Britain brought home its greatest medal haul in a century – but answered with a categorical 'no' when pressed by BBC Radio Five's Sportsweek
programme about whether he would be willing to put his own experience and expertise in hosting major international sporting events to use when Britain takes over the torch.
“I can't see how London, or anyone, will follow that,” the 77-year-old billionaire underlined on the subject of Beijing, which allegedly spent a staggering £20 billion on this summer's games. “We have to do something completely different and not try and do a 'Las Vegas', if you like – or we are going to look idiots.
“I wouldn't want to be involved. There is only one way down for anyone who is involved. If it goes well you are not going to get any credit, and if it goes badly you're going to get the blame.”
Ecclestone added that he believes London – and its transport system in particular – will cope with the challenge of welcoming the games 'with great difficulty', whilst quipping when he was asked if he had any advice for event organisers: “I suppose pray there's an earthquake or something so it doesn't happen.”
Ecclestone's comments come at an unfortunate time, with China having suffered a series of earthquakes in the past few months, the most serious of which – in the south-west of the country back in May – left 70,000 people dead and five million homeless.