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Ecclestone and Mosley: First signs of a split?

NEWS STORY
21/06/2009

If push really comes to shove, there are some who believe that despite a 'friendship' going back over forty years, Bernie Ecclestone wouldn't think twice about dumping Max Mosley should the FIA President's ego get in the way of his empire.

Should the teams carry out their threat and head off to start their own series, Ecclestone and CVC would be seriously out of pocket, indeed, as pointed out on Friday, should the 8 FOTA teams head off they will take with them more than US$2.2 billion of annual investment into F1.

Despite the smiles and the wisecracks, Ecclestone doesn't need to be reminded of the brevity of the situation.

Over the years, the two have formed an unlikely double act, Mosley the aristocrat and Ecclestone the punk street-fighter. And while some might see the duo as almost comedic, others compare them to Robert de Niro and Joe Pesci in Goodfellas.

Despite the outward chumminess however, there have been a few fallings out along the way, not least when the News of the World broke the news of Mosley's private life in April last year.

In the face of mounting criticism of the FIA President, which included threats of major sponsors walking away, Ecclestone too turned on his old mate, suggesting that it was time to go.

However, Mosley stood his ground, indeed, having beaten the media he became emboldened to the point that he felt the time was right to take on the teams again and re-stamp his authority all over his sport. The end result being that we now face the real prospect of a breakaway championship and a very, very nasty series of legal cases.

Speaking at Silverstone yesterday, however, despite the smiles, Ecclestone, once again, appeared to criticise Mosley, claiming the Englishman is "on a trip" in terms of his desire to cut costs and enforce his total authority on the sport and those that participate in it.

Ecclestone also claimed that the budget cap - one of the main sticking points in the current row - isn't a problem.

"I have some sympathy for the teams," he told the BBC. "Nobody wants to be told how they can spend their money. I say, provided they confirm they will be in the championship for five years, they can spend what they like."

We await Mosley's comments on that one.

Asked if he believes the current row can be resolved, the Englishman added: "We'll do our best. I'm sure we'll find a way. We have us, the federation and the teams and that's the way it should stay.

"I think in the end people will have enough sense not to bust this business up," he added. "Everyone should stay in their place and do their job."

Referring to Mosley, and speaking in the sort of language football club chairmen talk of managers before they're dumped, Ecclestone said: "It's difficult for some people to understand that this all started because he wanted to save the teams money so they didn't go out of business. He has done a lot of very good things for Formula One."

As Mike Lawrence always says... "follow the money..."

Bernie and CVC certainly will.

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