Horner: F1 unimaginable without Ecclestone
7 August 2013 – Red Bull team boss Christian Horner says Formula 1 would be an "unimaginable" place without Bernie Ecclestone, who has served 40 years at the helm.
Ecclestone, 82, is currently involved in various legal troubles, having been indicted by German prosecutors and most recently drawn into a High Court case in London.
"Bernie is a unique individual who has run Formula 1 tremendously successfully for the last 40 or 45 years," Horner, who has dealt directly with Ecclestone since joining Red Bull in 2005, told The Daily Telegraph. "The business, as it is today, is because of the way he has run it and operated it. It is unimaginable for him not to be there."
In Germany, Ecclestone's formal indictment surrounds the alleged bribery of banker Gerhard Gribkowsky following the sale of Formula 1 to CVC Capital Partners back in 2006, with the latter now serving an eight and a half year jail sentence for corruption.
Meanwhile, Constantin Medien, a German media group which previously owned shares in the sport, is seeking damages of at least $171m (£111 million), having claimed that Formula 1 was undervalued when it was sold to CVC from BayernLB.
"It's obviously very difficult for us to judge the issues [Ecclestone] is currently dealing with, but I'm sure he is fully focused," Horner went on to explain. "So long as Bernie is able to run the business, then he is absolutely the right guy to be running it. It's as simple as that. And he has the full backing of the shareholders of Formula 1."
Horner also denied that he is being chased as a replacement for Ecclestone, and said he hopes the Formula 1 supremo will remain in charge "for a long time to come."
"No, not at all,"said Horner, when asked if the idea had been raised. "I'm fully focused on what I'm doing. Bernie is a remarkable guy, and I doubt he has given much thought to succession to be honest with you because he is focused on the here and now, which is where the issues tend to be. I hope he goes on for a long time to come."