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Motorsport | Formula 1

Bernie Ecclestone © Gallo Images

Bernie warns that F1 could be in disarray if he leaves

Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone said in an interview published on Saturday that the sport may be thrown into disarray once he is longer there.

Ecclestone, 82, told British daily The Independent that he is not considering retirement and suggested that his departure could prompt others to follow and certain races possibly no longer held.

"One day, I'm not going to be there and one of the biggest problems is I've got really, really good relationships with the race promoters," he said.

"A few of them said to me, 'if you're not there, we're not there.' That's what the danger is. They feel that they trust me and wouldn't want to let me down. That's probably a very important issue. I think about retiring but I'm not going to do it. What would I do?"

Ecclestone has been at the helm of F1 for almost four decades and has turned it into a multi-million dollar business.

But he could face charges by German and United States prosecutors in connection with a 44-million-dollar payment to a German banker in connection with the sale of a controlling stake in F1 from a German bank to the CVC company which runs F1 and has retained Ecclestone as boss.

The authorities believe that Ecclestone's payment to the banker, Gerhard Gribkowski, was a bride to ensure that the bank, Bayerische Landesbank, sold its stake to CVC in 2005.

The probe in the US comes from investment bank Bluewater Communications Holdings which says it submitted a higher bid than CVC.

Gribkowsky was jailed in summer while Ecclestone denies the allegations, saying he paid the money to stop the banker from false allegations about his tax affairs. The German prosecutors in Munich are expected to say in January whether Ecclestone will be charged.


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