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Searching For The New Bernie
Sunday 30th December 2012


Norbert Haug asks Bernie what happened to him at the German GP

Bernie Ecclestone has revealed that the commercial rights holders for F1, CVC Capital Partners, are head-hunting for a new F1 supremo to take his place. He told the Daily Telegraph that with the uncertainty over the German bribery scandal from 2006 that he might have to step down in 2012.


Business hates uncertainty, so instead of waiting to see if it happens, CVC are looking now. Sir Jackie Stewart thinks that theywon’t be looking within the sport. “I doubt very much [Ecclestone’s replacement] will be anybody in the F1 paddock and I don’t think it should be. I think they should go out and head-hunt the best of all,” he said. So, who could it be? Off on F1.com decided to find ten contenders straight away and worked out their good points and their bad points.

Donald Trump (Businessman):
For:
Like Bernie he was married to an East European slavic beauty – Ivana.
Like Bernie he is already a billionaire
Like Bernie he has a hair style that’s at least 40 years old
Like Bernie he is used to dealing at high level with foreign governments
Against:
He doesn’t know anything about Formula 1, putting him very much on a par with Flavio Briatore
He has a lot of media commitments with the US show The Apprentice, as well as his role in the Trump Organization.


Christopher Ecclestone (Actor)
For:
The former Doctor Who has the same surname as Bernie, providing much-needed continuity.
The Doctor’s ability to travel back in time would be an asset. Because some say the non-e.mail-sending Bernie is still living in the 1970s.
Against:
He’s more at home defeating daleks than running F1, even if Helmut Marko does look a bit like Davros.


Family Guy’s Brian Griffin
For:
Able to think rationally when all around are going crazy
Against:
He’s an anthropomorphic dog
He drives a Toyota Prius


Flavio Briatore (International Playboy)
For:
He’s an experienced marketeer
He already knows a lot of the movers and shakers in F1.
He’s Italian
Against:
It’s very difficult to work out what he’s saying.
He was banned for life from F1 after cheating his way to a grand prix win in Singapore and worse, Heidi Klum’s gran once described him as a flabby-arsed, wrinkled old has-been.*
* or something close.


Morena Baccarin (Actress in Homeland)
For:
She’s Brazilian-American and so could seamlessly represent the last two GPs of the season.
Nobody would care what she said at press conferences, they would just stare with their mouths open in silent adoration.
Against:
Knows even less about F1 than Flavio Briatore


Tony Blair (Politician)
For:
A long history of deceiving the public and making unilateral actions that are not in their best interest.
He’s good at coseying up to Rupert Murdoch and so will work well with Sky.
Against:
Would only take the role if George W.Bush told him to take the job.
His wife, Cherie.


Dara O’Brain (Comedian)
For:
Massive intellect
Massive head, the size of a small planet with its own gravitational pull.
Has an even better sense of humour than Bernie
Against:
Far too amenable to deal with the piranha tank.
Would find it very difficult taking Luca Montezemolo seriously (though, to a certain extent, everyone does).


Eddie Jordan (BBC Pundit)
For:
Like Bernie he has been involved in a high profile court case (Vodafone sponsorship) where the judge delivered a stinging rebuke about his credibility.
Has employed at least half of the F1 grid at one stage (usually, the least successful half)
Against:
Seen very much as Bernie’s lapdog. If Bernie asked EJ to sit up and beg or roll over so his tummy could be tickled, he would.


Kofi Anan (Former United Nations chief)
For:
A man who is used to negotiating international agreements
He could pinpoint at least 189 nations that don’t already have a grand prix and name their capital cities.
Against:
Too democratically minded
A generous soul, he’d probably end up giving the teams too much of CVC’s money and we’d reach the ridiculous position of new teams actually wanting to enter the sport rather than leave it.


Joseph Stalin (Dictator)
For:
Good at making the trains run on time
Good at getting his own way - opposition tends to melt away. Of all the contenders listed, his management style is probably closest to Bernie’s.
Against:
He’s dead*


*even so, he’s probably still got a better grasp of new media opportunities than Bernie.