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Bernie's One Man Show

Formula One owner Bernie Ecclestone's grip over control of the sport seems to be under threat. Not only has Ferrari's president Luca Di Montezemolo said he believes the sport needs "a more modern view", but Bernie Ecclestone F1 future is under cloud as bribery charges are prepared .
Bernie Ecclestone isn't too perturbed by Di Montezemolo's opinion and says he is relaxed despite reports in Germany that he faces charges relating to a bribery case.

He has faced more powerful challenges to his position. Back in 2004 , three banks J P Morgan Chase, Lehman Bros and Bayerische Landesbank, who comprised Speed Investments, acquired 75% of SLEC Holdings which "controlled" Formula One.

They sued Ecclestone for more management control over the sport that he had dominated for thirty years. They won the case but Bernie, in typically ebullient mood, said the verdict "would mean nothing at all".

The following day he had a meeting with all the Formula One team bosses and offered them 260,000,000 over three years to re-sign the "Concordia Agreement" which would guarantee the continuation of Formula One in it's present form ... with Bernie at the helm.

With the full support of the teams behind Bernie, the banks were left totally at his mercy. The money offered was to be met from television rights granted around the world by Bernie !

A diminuative chap, Ecclestone raced into the billionaire ranks in 2005 after selling his stake in Formula One Group for $2.5 billion . Today he is listed at $2.8 billion having paid out $1.2 billion to his ex wife, Croation model, Slavica in 2008.

Bernie has a penchant for getting into "hot water" with ladies. Formula One is a notoriously male environment but Indycar in the U.S. had a successful female driver, Danica Patrick. When asked when Formula One would have the same, he allegedly remarked , "You know I've got one of these wonderful ideas ... women should be dressed in white like all other domestic appliances".

He may not be afraid of Ferrari or the banks but any more comments like that and he should be afraid ... very afraid !

About the author

I moved to Cannes in the South of France two and half years ago having spent the previous fifty in Chester in England.