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Ecclestone: Bribe lawsuit is affecting F1 role

Bernie Ecclestone & Paul Hembery
Bernie Ecclestone & Paul Hembery
Bernie Ecclestone and Fernando Alonso

Bernie Ecclestone and Fernando Alonso

Bernie Ecclestone has hinted for the first time that he may need to voluntarily step back from running formula one.

Until now, the F1 chief executive has been resolute in the face of the bribery affair, insisting the sport's owners CVC support him unless he is found criminally guilty in a forthcoming trial.

"We don't have any changes planned at the moment," a CVC source told F1 business journalist Christian Sylt, writing in the Guardian.

"The board constantly reviews facts and circumstances and the current position is that no changes are planned."

But now, Ecclestone has been quoted as suggesting the affair is actually limiting his ability to run formula one effectively.

"I've been spending time on this (civil) case and to spend time on Munich I am not able to give what I normally would do, 24-7, to the business," he told the Financial Times.

"I've been looking, over the last few years, for somebody who can join me to assist with what I have to do.

"I will eventually be in a position, if I decide to retire - or unfortunately become dead - to have someone to step into my shoes," Ecclestone added.

However, it is believed the 83-year-old's Financial Times comments were made weeks ago, while Ecclestone told Sylt this week that the journalist "misunderstood him".

Sylt also asked Ecclestone if he will be able to continue to run F1 during the Munich trial, and the diminutive Briton answered "of course".

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