SILVERSTONE, England (AP) — Bernie Ecclestone says he is considering buying back the commercial rights to Formula One, even as the 83-year-old remains on trial for alleged bribery.
Ecclestone is now a minority shareholder in the body that owns F1’s commercial rights, having sold the majority stake to the hedge fund CVC Capital Partners, but remains as chief executive of the companies that own the rights and is still the sport’s main powerbroker.
Amid reports that CVC is looking to sell out of F1, Ecclestone told Britain’s Daily Express newspaper that he is interested in taking back the stake he sold 15 years ago.
“It is possible, although one or two other companies are interested and I would not enter an auction,” Ecclestone was quoted as saying.
“You can make money from it, so it would not be a problem for me to find financial backers. I run it now, but it wouldn’t make any difference. It just means I would have to buy the shares.”
Ecclestone’s advancing age, and the fact he is involved in an ongoing trial in Germany on bribery charges, were considered major impediments to his ambitions to buy back into the sport, but he dismissed such concerns.
“Age does not make it impossible. I feel no different to how I did 40 years ago,” Ecclestone said.
“Our company has been a very good investment for CVC and it would be a very good investment for me or anyone who owned it.”
CVC had said it would dismiss Ecclestone from his roles if he was found guilty on the bribery charges, so a buyback of the rights was regarded as his only way to remain in control of the sport he has run for decades.
However Ecclestone told the Express Saturday that he believed it would be difficult to remove him even if he was convicted, because he has a contract with the company and not with the shareholders.