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Lauda: 'Bernie's done a perfect job'

2014-03-17 14:22

IN THE HOT SEAT: Bernie Ecclestone (left) meets Russian president Vladimir Putin to discuss the 2014 Sochi GP. Ecclestone’s future at the helm of F1 could be cut short depending on the outcome of his trial in Germany. Image: AFP

MELBOURNE, Australia - Niki Lauda has revealed he is worried that Formula 1 will struggle if Bernie Ecclestone is no longer in charge.

Ecclestone, F1's chief executive, could be jailed if found guilty in a criminal trial of bribery and corruption. His trial is scheduled for April 2014 in Germany.

Mercedes chairman Lauda told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper: “Without him and his knowledge, Formula 1 would fall into a giant hole."

He said it would be "incredibly difficult" for the sport if Ecclestone (83) was no longer able to run F1 "from one day to the next".

Given the sport's size, many insiders found it hard to believe a succession plan was not ready to be unfurled. Lauda said: "I don't know if Bernie can be so easily replaced. He made some small errors but each of us has done that."

Ecclestone had done a "perfect job" for the sport over the years.

Even Ecclestone admits that paying the jailed former F1 banker Gerhard Gribkowsky to quieten him about his tax affairs might have been a mistake.

Ecclestone told F1 business journalist Christian Sylt: "I regret paying him. I should have let him write to the (British) Revenue and let them prove what he said. It is a wonderful thing, hindsight."

Read more on:    mercedes  |  bernie ecclestone  |  niki lauda  |  motorsport  |  racing  |  f1

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