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Ecclestone lets rips

NEWS STORY
27/09/2009

Bernie Ecclestone left a TV presenter feeling as though he had "been eaten" after being questioned ahead of yesterday's qualifying session.

At the end of a difficult week for the sport and its figurehead, Ecclestone was in unforgiving mood when the BBC's Jake Humphrey attempted to get him to open up.

Referring to comments made by Sir Martin Sorrell, chief executive officer of the WPP Group and also on the board of (F1 owner) CVC, the F1 supremo said : "Everybody's entitled to their own opinion, aren't they? Why should his opinion be more important than mine?

"He doesn't even come to races," he added, clearly angry, "he doesn't know the people involved."

Sorrell had earlier told the Daily Mail that he felt Ecclestone - seen here preparing for today's grid walk - was losing the plot, citing his public criticism of the punishment meted out to Flavio Briatore and also comments made earlier in the year when the F1 supremo appeared to praise Adolf Hitler.

Referring to the Hitler comments Ecclestone snapped: "The comments I made about Hitler were taken completely out of context and I apologise. As far as cheating, I haven't made any comments."

Visibly nervous - after all his F1 accreditation could be on the line - Humphrey also asked Ecclestone about the 2010 British Grand Prix and the likelihood of all the proposed teams making it to the grid next year.

Earlier this week, Ecclestone gave Donington yet another deadline as it searches for the funding necessary if it is to host next year's Grand Prix. Asked if Donington will be given even more time, he replied: "Donington have had 'a bit more time' three times. They can't have much more. I think we have given them until 3 October. Their problem is a financial one, it is them getting the money together."

And when asked if the race would then revert to Silverstone, he said: "If it's going to be Silverstone - and there's no guarantee it will be, if it's not Donington - they want to get on, get the race prepared, and sell tickets."

Meanwhile, while USF1 team co-founder Peter Windsor was in the paddock interviewing various drivers and team bosses as part of his 'other job', Ecclestone cast doubt on the American outfit's chances of being on the grid next March.

Asked if believes there will be 14 teams on the grid in Bahrain, his answer was immediate: "No, because I think one or two of them might not turn up."

When asked if USF1 was one of the teams giving cause for concern, despite claims that it already has the backing of YouTube co-founder Chad Hurley, the Englishman replied: "That's what I've been told, possibly they are doubtful."

Clearly fed up with the interview, Ecclestone eventually thundered off, Humphrey telling co-presenter Eddie Jordan that he felt as though he'd "been eaten".

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