Age is just a number for Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone, who celebrated his 82nd birthday here on Sunday.
Ecclestone, one of the most sought-after persons during the Indian Grand Prix at the Buddh International Circuit (BIC) here, was as sharp as ever and made it clear that he had no plans of stepping down from his position.
“Retirement? Not at the moment. I still feel good. When I feel I cannot deliver any longer, then I will say it and move on,” Ecclestone told reporters after releasing a coffee-table book on the BIC.
Jaypee Sports International (JPSI), the promoter of the circuit presented Ecclestone a painting, while Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali gifted him a cake. The team heads and owners got together to wish the octogenarian.
Amidst all this, it was business as usual for the F1 supremo. While touching upon various topics related to Formula One, Ecclestone said France could make a comeback on the F1 calendar next year. “We are ready to sign a contract. Which circuit they are going to use is one thing and who is going to pay for it. That is the bottom line. If they are ready, we can slot it in the calendar.”
About the preparedness of the inaugural Grand Prix to be held in Austin, USA, on November 18, Ecclestone said, “It is always a good feeling to see things falling in place. From what we saw last year, it has been a massive improvement.”
Ecclestone sounded positive about working with various teams in finding an agreeable solution to the resource reduction issue. “We are looking at the right way of putting it in. I hate the word cut. It is not the way to go. What we are trying to do is to reduce the money spent, create a sensible budget and not spend a fortune.
“I am talking about the maximum spend including everything. Once we agree on that in principle then we will take it forward.”
Hailing the BIC as one of the best tracks in the world, Ecclestone hoped that the Indian Grand Prix would pick up next year. “First is always high. Second it goes down. Third year is what is important. When it does not go up that is something to worry. It is difficult to answer that since we have competition from what you call that sport, cricket,” he said.