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Stewart launches blistering attack on Ecclestone and Mosley

NEWS STORY
05/01/2009

With the strains of Auld Lang Syne still ringing in our ears, three-time World Champion Jackie Stewart has launched (another) stinging attack on the two sassenachs he claims are destroying Formula One, Bernie Ecclestone and Max Mosley.

Ahead of twelfth night, the last day of merry-making in celebration of Christmas, and the day when all decorations should be taken down, the Scot has nailed his colours firmly to the door, calling on both men to stand down for the good of the sport.

"The era of big change is now essential because the sport has grown larger than either the governors or the commercial-rights holders," says Stewart in an interview with The Times.

"And that's just a fact," he continues. It has taken too long to achieve the things it should have achieved years ago and that other sports have long ago matured to, and other sports have prepared themselves more fully for the opportunities that have come their way."

In the case of Ecclestone, Stewart believes the F1 supremo has simply become to powerful. While he appreciates the fact that the Englishman has taken the sport from relative obscurity and put it on televisions in homes in almost every country on earth, making a lot of people - the Scot included - very wealthy in the process, he believes Ecclestone now has too much power, both for his own good and that of the sport.

"Having done it, he now rules and nobody is up for taking on a battle with him. Bernie has such power and influence that he could suffocate almost any performer who would dare to suggest that there must be change."

Stewart also fears for the sport's future should anything happen to Ecclestone, the Englishman having seemingly made no plans as to who would take over should he need to step down.

"I don't think Bernie can bring people in to help him in a transition phase," says Stewart. "He has been so used to total control that if you look at his structure you have to ask yourself 'is there a successor?' and you would say 'no'. That is wrong. The commercial reality has to be recognised ... and there has to be continuity that the ageing process makes necessary."

While many of us might feel there has been a rift between Ecclestone and Mosley in recent years, not least in the wake of last year's sex scandal, Stewart still sees the duo as Tweedledum and Tweedledee, the 'toxic twins' joined at the hip, in total charge of all facets of the sport.

"They haven't looked after the house properly and the foundations are built on just this two-man working relationship," says the Scot. "This has evoked concern and apprehension on the part of those involved in the sport. When Max Mosley had the scandal erupt around him, how many team principals or owners spoke out? None.

"Why, you may ask? When McLaren were, according to some, victimised by the FIA in late 2007 for allegedly cheating, how many of the other teams thought, 'That could be us, we must stand behind them.' Who did? In fear of repercussions, nobody did. I was one of the few people who spoke out on both issues.

"I have no commercial ramifications surrounding my continuing involvement in the sport," he continues, "but, if there was something that did pop up or that was researched on me, I am sure it would be used. Now that is not a democratic organisation."

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