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Ecclestone planning on at least 3 more years

27 October 2012

Bernie Ecclestone has brushed aside speculation that he might be looking to retire once F1 is floated on the stock exchange by current majority owners CVC.

"As long as I feel I can deliver, and the shareholders are happy for that to happen, I will stay," Ecclestone told BBC Sport on Friday. "When I can't I'll give them plenty of notice."

Ecclestone has been in charge of the commercial side of the sport for the last 17 years, and indicated that he plans to make it at least another three years before he steps aside, by which time he will be 85.

"Eventually I'm going to go, one way or another," he admitted. "But as long as I feel I can deliver - and [shareholders] are happy for that to happen - I will stay."

The latest speculation about Ecclestone's retirement has been provoked by the prospectus for F1's initial share offering on the Singapore stok exchange - currently pushed back into 2013 because of the weak economic climate - hinted at plans to recruit a successor for him.

"When we decided we're going to get an IPO, the obvious thing was 'well, what's going to happen about Bernie?'" he explained. "So we put in the prospectus that we're going to find a head-hunter to try and find someone. That was a couple of years ago."

But he insisted that this routine business provision in the share offering documentation didn't mean that his plans had changed or that he was about to walk away from the sport that he had built up into a global business.

"I will tell CVC exactly if I'm going to turn it in, when I'm 85 or something like that, which will give them plenty of notice," he said.

Ecclestone also told the media in India that the push into global markets may mean that Europe could lose another two Grand Prix events.

"We'll keep trying to move forward. We're a World Championship," he told Sky Sports F1. "We'll probably lose two or three more races in Europe as we have to sort of move on."

Ecclestone acknowledged that this may leave F1 with as few as four European events in the future.

On the subject of discussions over the new Concord Agreement, Ecclestone told reporters that the main subject of debate was not over money but the regulations that will come into effect.

"We've actually reached a very good agreement with the FIA, with Jean Todt, and the teams," Ecclestone told Sky Sports F1's Martin Brundle. "Money's all sorted out to 2020.

"It's to do with regulations," he added, revealing that "all the teams except HRT" had now signed up for 2013. The concern of the smaller teams was the contentious area of budget caps, while the subject of an expensive new generation of turbo engines due to enter the sport in 2014 was a concern of everyone in the paddock. Ecclestone himself has publicly expressed doubts about the need for them.

"That's what we're tying to have a look at," he said. "See how we can overcome these problems."


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