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Ecclestone offered FIA role

NEWS STORY
19/05/2005

FIA president Max Mosley is understood to have offered Bernie Ecclestone a role with motorsport's governing body.

Mosley revealed the offer at a lunch in Monaco yesterday, ahead of this weekend's Grand Prix.

According to the Englishman, the Presidency of the FIA is taking up more and more of his time, hence the offer to Ecclestone to 'come on board'.

"He hasn't said yes and he hasn't said no," said Mosley, according to The Guardian. "I have millions of things to do to keep me occupied and recruiting Bernie would be a very satisfying way of dealing with the current situation. His role would be specifically to deal with the problems of Formula One from the governing body's point of view."

However, such a move would mean that Ecclestone would have to relinquish his interests in SLEC, and thereby his involvement with Formula One Management (FOM) and indeed all his commercial interests in F1.

"As far as the 75% (owned by the banks) is concerned Bernie would just have to resign his position," admitted Mosley, "And then the banks could perhaps sell to the motor manufacturers or pass their shares to the competing teams."

"I am trying to decide whether this is what I should do or not," said Ecclestone, according to The Guardian, "but I would have to say I am seriously considering the proposition Max has put to me at the moment.

"Is he pressing me for a decision?" added the Englishman. "Well, sort of. I suppose the job is quite appealing in a sense, dealing with every element of formula one, although I would have to remove myself from the commercial aspect of the sport.

"The trouble is, Max currently can't do everything at the FIA and he is spending a great deal of time with car- industry matters. So perhaps the teams, who are always complaining about how Max carries on, might find me a little easier to deal with."

Should Ecclestone accept the deal it would be a devastating blow to the three banks which own 75% of Formula One, therefore one cannot help but feel that this is the opening gambit - or perhaps the latest - in the power struggle for F1.

If Ecclestone should give up his interest in F1, the banks would suddenly find themselves in control of a business of which they know practically nothing, rather like inheriting a large house, or indeed business, but not knowing any of the details, such as where things are kept, who provides certain services, etc. Ecclestone is known to be extraordinarily 'secretive' in some of his wheeling and dealing.

Pitpass has known for some time that Mr Mosley wishes to spend more of his time concentrating on the FIA Foundation, which deals mainly with road car safety, and which would be a greater legacy when he chooses to resign.

On the other hand, it is difficult to see Bernie giving up his role as 'owner' of the sport merely to become an administrator.

Either way, this is a fascinating story, and one that must be watched.

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