Having insisted at the height of the Max Mosley sex scandal earlier this year that his long-time friend and business partner should step down for the sake of the sport, Bernie Ecclestone has now completed his dramatic volte-face by declaring: "I would re-elect him for another 20 years."

Mosley and Ecclestone have long been close allies within Formula 1, but the latter sought to distance himself from the FIA President following the News of the World's front page revelation back in March.

He even went so far as to express his fear that should Mosley survive the vote of confidence held on his future in the FIA Senate - as he did - he would renege on his promise to step down from the most powerful and influential position in international motorsport in October 2009, when his current and fourth term in the role expires.

Back in the summer, Ecclestone threatened all-out 'war' with Mosley, and it was even suggested that it had been him who had initiated the sting that led to the 68-year-old's very public embarrassment - an accusation the F1 commercial rights-holder was forced to deny.

Now, however - with suggestions that former Ferrari team principal Jean Todt is being eased into the FIA to eventually assume Mosley's mantle [see separate story - click here] - Ecclestone has offered his full support should the present incumbent indeed fulfil his prophecy that he will not resign next year.

"I would re-elect him for another 20 years," the 77-year-old told Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport. "If he wants to stay, it's right that he should."

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