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Ecclestone sends out last minute warning

NEWS STORY
03/06/2008

In a blatant attempt to sway FIA members ahead of today's all important Extraordinary General Meeting - at which Max Mosley's fate will be decided - Bernie Ecclestone has sent out a clear warning... vote for Max and you're stuck with him for another six years.

While the rest of us await not only news of the vote but also the two investigations into how the News of the World first got hold of the Mosley sex scandal in the first place, Bernie Ecclestone has made another attempt to rock the boat.

Speaking to The Times (who else?), Ecclestone said: "The problem is, if he stays until 2009, he will run again," Ecclestone said. "I am 100 per cent certain about that; no, one million per cent certain. That's what he said. He says: 'I don't have to do anything. There'll be another election and I can stand if I want.'"

In other words, despite Mosley saying that if given the vote of confidence he will stand down in 2009, Ecclestone - his friend and ally for forty years - warns that the Englishman has no intention of stepping down and will instead seek to serve another term.

In a recent letter to FIA members, Mosley warned that one of the reasons he needed the vote of confidence is because F1 is in crisis, with Ecclestone and others seeking to take total control of the sport. At the time, Pitpass described the letter as a declaration of war.

Sure enough, within days, Ecclestone lashed out at his old friend, warning that if he wanted war, that is precisely what he would get.

Then, at the weekend, Ecclestone finally, publicly, called on Mosley to rethink his position and step down gracefully, to leave the sport with a little dignity.

That plea having failed, and with the vote fast approaching, Ecclestone has changed tactics, sending out the 'vote for him and you're stuck with him' warning.

"It has been difficult for me," Ecclestone told The Times. "The people I deal with are commercial people, manufacturers, sponsors and teams. They want peace and they want to get on with the business and the sport. Max doesn't care - he's not commercial - he hasn't got one single dollar invested, so he doesn't give a stuff."

Contacted by Pitpass, an FIA spokesman refuted Ecclestone's claim that Mosley - if given the vote of confidence - will seek re-election in 2009. "The President has made his position very clear about stepping down in October next year," he said. "He's definitely going to step down next year."

Meanwhile, it has now emerged that 177 members will vote today, though a full list is not available. Members will have a straightforward choice when voting, they will either vote "for" or "against".

Before that vote however, Mosley may well be able to play his own trump card. For it is expected that Anthony Scrivener QC will give details of the case against the News of the World, while the leading private investigations company, Quest, which is run by Lord Stevens of Kirkwhelpington, former Chief of the Metropolitan Police, is expected to give details of its investigation into who tipped off the British tabloid in the first place.

It is fairly safe to say that there will be a number of high ranking sphincters twitching in Paris and beyond today.

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