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Ecclestone: Montezemolo still a friend

3 January 2013


F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone has held out an olive branch to Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo.

Montezemolo hit out at the 82-year-old last month and told the media that 'old age is often incompatible with certain roles and responsibilities', the implication being that maybe it was time for Ecclestone to step down.

It followed Ferrari's request for clarification on the yellow flag incident that kept the 2012 championship in the balance for five days following the season ending Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos, a request Ecclestone derided and branded 'a joke'.

In an interview with Italian newspaper, Corriere della Sera, this week though, Bernie insisted there is no ill feelings.

“Montezemolo is still a friend and I'm convinced that he didn't really intend to say the things he said about me, about my age and my ability to continue to work. I'm happy – it's just 'role playing'” Ecclestone remarked.

“All I said was that [Red Bull] deserved to win the Drivers' and Constructors' titles again and that I didn't agree with the stance Ferrari were taking with the appeal against the alleged and non-existent rule infringement by [Sebastian] Vettel at Interlagos.”

Meanwhile, Ecclestone added that he is not concerned by the bribery case still hanging over his head as he is innocent. Although it has still to be decided if he will face any charges related to alleged payments made to German banker Gerhard Gribkowsky during the sale of F1 to current owners CVC back in 2006, he recently admitted that it could force him to relinquish his position at the head of the sport.

However he has now put a different spin on things: “I would be worried [about the case] if I was guilty! But I'm not!” he added. “Are they trying to entrap me? I don't know and I don't care! All I know is that people try anything when money is involved! It won't get to me appearing in court.

“I will continue to make F1 think and act like the world's leading sport. I'll continue to help with my ideas - I still have plenty left!”


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