(From left) Bernie Ecclestone and Max Mosley face the media back at an FIA Formula One Commission Meeting in London in 2002.
Gavin Lawrence Photo
Former FIA President Max Mosley believes that Bernie Ecclestone is likely to stay on and continue to run F1 even if the sport is sold on by CVC.
US firm RSE Ventures has been linked with a joint bid with Qatar to buy CVC’s 35 percent shareholding.
“I think it’s still very early days for a possible takeover,” Mosley said in a BBC radio interview on Wednesday. “Because before they actually move they will do due diligence, and that will take some little time. A lot will then come out about the current state of the sport, which may or may not encourage them.
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“But I think whatever happens, if it is taken over, I don’t really see Bernie’s role changing – unless and until he wants it to change. Because he’s the person who’s managed to sell it everywhere. I’m sure CVC has had thoughts about an 84-year-old chief executive. The fact is that there’s nobody else that does the job as well. That’s my gut feeling.”
Asked about Ecclestone’s survival at the top of the sport he said: “I think the thing is he’s pretty amazing, the way he keeps going. Most of us, when we get to a certain age – and I’m quite a big younger than him but still old – you get tired. I said to him the other day, don’t you feel tired in the afternoon? And he said then the phone calls come in and the emails come in, and the adrenaline goes. I think the fact is that he’s really interested in what he does and does it very well. Age then tends to be flexible.”
Meanwhile, Mosley said that the high spending by the big teams was F1’s major problem at the moment.
“I think there have been a few strategic errors, but the fundamental thing is because it’s become so expensive, and you’re allowed to spend as much money as you can get your hands on, then you have two or three teams at the top who spend a vast amount of money, then you have a succession of teams, like a tail end, who’ve got much less money. So they can’t compete.
“And that means then that the grid is relatively uncompetitive, and that of course interferes with the show. The key move would be to make the small teams competitive, and there are one or two ways of doing that. If Bernie and the FIA get together, they can overrule the teams. Put crudely that’s how it is.”
Mosley also reiterated his suggestion that teams spending less money should have more technical freedom.
“The way to solve the problem is to say to the small teams you can have more technical freedom on condition that you work within a cost cap. So then they for example would be allowed to have a moveable front wing. There are a thousand things that they could do to make their cars competitive with the very expensive cars at the front, but on a much smaller budget. The expensive cars at the front would say, ‘I can’t stand for that, I can’t get overtaken by one of the small teams,’ to which the answer is you could operate under the same regime should you choose to do so.
“Fundamentally the problem is soluble, but it needs a fairly determined attack on the current structure.”