Ecclestone suggests Horner as his successor


His rein under threat, Bernie Ecclestone has suggested Red Bull team boss Christian Horner as his preferred choice of successor.

"Christian would be ideal," he told reporters ahead of the Brazilian Grand Prix. "I would be happy to hold his hand. We could have a transitional period. It needs someone who knows the sport."

Currently embroiled in a legal case in London, the outcome of which will decide if there are further cases, beginning in Germany following the conviction of Gerhard Gribkowsky, one might understand why Ecclestone is looking at potential successors.

Having previously admitted to Pitpass business editor Chris Sylt that if the legal case goes against him his 'employers' CVC would fire him, this was confirmed in court earlier this week when CVC chairman Donald Mackenzie told the court: "We’ve always taken the position that if it’s proven Mr Ecclestone has done anything that’s criminal or wrong, we will fire him".

However, despite Ecclestone's suggestions, Pitpass regulars will be aware that in July a senior source at CVC revealed that if it is still in control of F1 when Ecclestone 'moves on' it will replace him with someone from outside the sport.

“The business is too small to have a successor lurking in the ranks," said the source. "The successor almost certainly has to come from externally."

This wouldn't be a wise move according to Ecclestone who has personally made many of the deals that have made F1 such a commercial success since he first came to prominence in the 1970s.

"If someone comes in from outside, a corporate type, I don't think I could work with them," he said yesterday. "It wouldn't last five minutes."

Among those previously linked with the role are Sir Stuart Rose, former executive chairman of Marks & Spencer, and Justin King, Sainsbury’s chief executive. In 2011 David Campbell, the former European chief executive of entertainment group AEG, was hired to run F1’s corporate hospitality division. He was tipped as a successor for Ecclestone until we revealed that he had parted ways with F1.

Last year it came to light that CVC’s preparation for the planned flotation of F1 on the Singapore Stock Exchange has included hiring head hunting agency Egon Zehnder. It drafted a short list of potential replacements for Ecclestone which reportedly included Richard Scudamore, chief executive of football’s Premier League.

Asked previously if he was interested in the role, Horner was adamant that he wasn't insisting that he prefers running the Red Bull team.

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Published: 22/11/2013
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