Red Bull man ideal for F1 boss – Bernie

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - BUSINESS -

LON­DON: For­mula One chief ex­ec­u­tive Bernie Ec­cle­stone has named Red Bull team boss Chris­tian Horner as the ideal can­di­date to suc­ceed him when he fi­nally re­lin­quishes his grip on the sport, Bri­tish me­dia re­ported yes­ter­day.

Ec­cle­stone, who has built For­mula One into a global money spin­ner over the past four decades, has al­ways shunned talk of re­tire­ment but is now 83 and is fac­ing le­gal chal­lenges re­lat­ing to a 2005 busi­ness deal.

“Chris­tian would be ideal,” Ec­cle­stone told re­porters at the Brazil­ian Grand Prix in Sao Paulo. “I would be happy to hold his hand. We could have a tran­si­tional pe­riod. It needs some­one who knows the sport.”

Horner, 40, is a Bri­ton like Ec­cle­stone. His Red Bull team and their driver Sebastian Vet­tel have dom­i­nated For­mula One for the past four sea­sons.

Set­tling the is­sue of a suc­ces­sor to Ec­cle­stone would make it eas­ier to float the busi­ness on the stock ex­change, an ul­ti­mate aim for pri­vate eq­uity firm CVC, the largest share­holder in For­mula One.

Ec­cle­stone said he would not favour hand­ing over the role to some­one from out­side For­mula One. “If some­one comes in from out­side, a cor­po­rate type, I don’t think I could work with them. It wouldn’t last five min­utes.”

CVC said this week it would sack Ec­cle­stone if he was found guilty of wrong­do­ing in his deal­ings with a jailed Ger­man banker.

Ec­cle­stone is fac­ing a dam­ages claim in the Lon­don High Court over al­le­ga­tions he un­der­val­ued the busi­ness in 2005 when CVC be­came the con- trolling share­holder af­ter buy­ing out banks in­clud­ing Bay­ernLB.

A Ger­man court will de­cide next week whether to put Ec­cle­stone on trial for cor­rup­tion over a pay­ment he made to Ger­man banker Ger­hard Gribkowsky, for­mer chief risk of­fi­cer at Bay­ernLB, who was jailed last year.

Ec­cle­stone, who de­nies wrong­do­ing, says he was the vic­tim of co­er­cion by Gribkowsky, say­ing the Ger­man was threat­en­ing to make false claims about his tax af­fairs. – Reuters

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