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A win-win situation for Ecclestone

NEWS STORY
29/09/2007

There is little doubt that Bernie Ecclestone was even more delighted following the recent World Motor Sport Council hearing than any of the teams or drivers involved.

Had McLaren been excluded from the World Championship for 2007, far less 2008 also, it is highly likely that fans would have deserted the sport in their tens of thousands, not the sort of thing that the F1 supremo, or his partners at CVC, want.

Now, thanks to those wise people at the WMSC, though the constructors' Championship might be decided, the all-important Drivers' Championship remains up for grabs, with the two main contenders being rookie sensation Lewis Hamilton and his teammate, defending world Champion, Fernando Alonso. The fact that both men appear to loathe one another, and are fully capable, and willing, of naughtiness in pursuit of the title merely adds to Ecclestone's delight, it's a win-win situation.

The prospect of another Prost/Senna type war on track has the media, and thereby the fans, stirred up, and Ecclestone is fully aware that all publicity is good publicity for the sport, and thereby his (and CVC's) bank balance.

"Like the $100 million fine, it would generate a lot of publicity," he told reporters at Fuji. "Imagine if that happened on the last lap of the last race, then the guy that was leading at the time, points-wise, would be the winner. So it would be a controversial end to the championship."

Though the title will not be decided this weekend, Ecclestone fully appreciates the importance of the race.

"A lot depends on it," he said. "If McLaren run into bad luck and the Ferraris get going it could be a different championship. What if it rains? What if it's the other way round? What's good is that we are talking about it. If Michael Schumacher was here we'd be saying 'Will he be on pole and will he win the race?' Now we are talking.

"Lewis is obviously good for the sport," he continued, "the new kid on the block. In his first year he comes into F1 and does so well. It's wonderful. If Fernando won another world championship it would be another one. That would be three, which is good.

"If Kimi Raikkonen or Felipe Massa win, that would be Ferrari winning and that would be good, too," he added. "There's not a negative in any of those results."

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