FORMULA ONE: Egomaniac F1owners Are like Guys Who Have Read Dirty Books. but Never Been to Bed with a Woman; BRITISH GRAND PRIX EXCLUSIVE Bernie Ecclestone's Most Controversial Interview EVER

The Mirror (London, England), July 9, 2005 | Go to article overview

FORMULA ONE: Egomaniac F1owners Are like Guys Who Have Read Dirty Books. but Never Been to Bed with a Woman; BRITISH GRAND PRIX EXCLUSIVE Bernie Ecclestone's Most Controversial Interview EVER


Byline: Oliver Holt CHIEF SPORTS WRITER

FORMULA ONE supremo Bernie Ecclestone last night launched a blistering verbal attack on the men who are trying to plunge the sport into civil war.

In his most revealing interview ever, Ecclestone said that his last wish as F1 chief was to head off the threat of a split.

The sport has lurched into chaos since team owners forced Ecclestone to loosen his grip, even though he made them all millionaires.

But on the eve of the British Grand Prix, Ecclestone, the promotional genius who turned F1 into a global phenomenon, said the sport needed a dictator again.

He said his wife Slavica had urged him to turn his back on the bunglers who turned last month's USGP into a farce.

And he ridiculed the bosses who run giant engine manufacturers like Mercedes, BMW and Renault for trying to set up a breakaway series starting in 2008.

"People who run big corporations are okay at ticking boxes but they make decisions and they do not understand the side-effects of the decisions," Ecclestone, 74, said. "We have got a few new kids on the block now. They don't know what they don't know. They put a hat on that says 'president' or 'chief executive' and they find themselves in a position above their ability.

"They are like guys who have read dirty books but have never been to bed with a woman.

"You can't turn the clock back but, if they are bright enough, they will realise they are meddling with something that did not need to be fixed.

"In time they will start to understand. Their egos will melt away quietly. At the moment the sport is a so-called democracy where everybody wants a say but nobody knows what to say.

"They seem to think they can try and run the sport as if it was a big company.

"But if they do that they will be in trouble. You have got to run Formula One like a boutique, not a supermarket.

"We have got people with massive egos in the sport now. They use Formula One to promote themselves.

"If I was in charge of a detective agency and I was looking for a hidden camera somewhere, I'd hire a couple of our team owners - they always seem to be able to find a camera wherever they are.

"But at the same time the sponsors and the teams seem to jump on anyone who has got a bit of character. I felt sorry for Kimi Raikkonen when he went out and got p***ed and was told it must never happen again. They made a big fuss about that. But I remember the days when the drivers used to be out all night and they'd come back and drive without having gone to bed.

"It's got so corporate now that I'm surprised some of the English teams don't send their drivers out on to the grid wearing bowler hats.

'What we need is another James Hunt."

Despite the growing power of the manufacturers - BMW just bought out Swiss team Sauber - Ecclestone is confident that the breakaway leaders will back down.

He is convinced he could have averted the farcical scenes in Indianapolis when only six cars took part in the race because Michelin didn't bring the right tyres for its teams.

"A few years ago we didn't have the democracy in the sport we have now," Ecclestone said. "If we had had an Indianapolis situation back then, I would have said 'we're in the s**t and we have got 100,000 people out there so what are we going to do about it? …

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FORMULA ONE: Egomaniac F1owners Are like Guys Who Have Read Dirty Books. but Never Been to Bed with a Woman; BRITISH GRAND PRIX EXCLUSIVE Bernie Ecclestone's Most Controversial Interview EVER
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