Bernie Ecclestone has vowed to carry on as Formula One’s chief executive despite a planned pounds 6billion takeover of the sport, setting up a fight for control with one of Rupert Murdoch’s closest lieutenants.
Ecclestone claimed he has been offered three more years by American giant Liberty Media should its takeover go through.
Ecclestone, who will be 86 next month, had suggested he may walk away after four decades at the helm but yesterday confirmed he will continue.
“There’s no change to my role - I’m staying,” Ecclestone told The Daily Telegraph.
“I will continue to do all the things I have previously done, negotiate with the circuits, television companies and people like that. It’ll make no difference. I’ll just have a bit of help.”
Ecclestone faces an unprecedented battle for power with Chase Carey, executive vice-chairman of Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox, who is due to be confirmed as F1‘s new executive chairman next Tuesday.
Every other executive Ecclestone has been forced to work alongside, he has seen off. But he is likely to find Carey one of the toughest adversaries he has faced in 40 years running Formula One.
Carey is also a former CEO of satellite broadcaster DirecTV and it is hoped he can develop the sport in America and in new digital media.
Many believe the 61-year-old’s expected appointment could mark the beginning of the end of Ecclestone’s reign.
Ecclestone will not be at the Singapore Grand Prix next week because of the negotiations between current owners CVC Capital Partners and Liberty Media.