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Wolff: F1 must look beyond Ecclestone era

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FORMULA 1 - Abu Dhabi GP
Bernie Ecclestone & Felipe Massa

Bernie Ecclestone supporting Felipe Massa

On the eve of a trial that could send Bernie Ecclestone to jail, formula one is having to look into its future.

If convicted of bribery in Munich, the F1 chief executive could even be jailed.

But if found guilty and not jailed, he would surely nonetheless fall foul of the sort of strict corporate compliance rules that groups like Mercedes parent Daimler adhere to.

"We hold ourselves to that (code of conduct) also," Mercedes' motor racing chief Toto Wolff said on Wednesday.

For the moment, Ecclestone is presumed innocent. But his predicament - with judges in two countries having already found he paid a bribe - is forcing F1 to look into its future.

"Of course we are thinking about the future of formula one," Austrian Wolff told the business newspaper Handelsblatt. "We have to.

"After Ecclestone there would be, I suspect, a management team (to run the sport)," he explained.

"It would be a normal management board, as per any other large company," Wolff added.

However, it has been rumoured that some of F1's most powerful participants - like Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull - might also push to take over the sport themselves.

Wolff insists: "Right now that is not on the agenda."

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