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Horner touted as Ecclestone replacement

ESPN Staff
February 26, 2014 « Main pre-season upgrade still to come - Ferrari | Mercedes remains humble - Wolff »
Christian Horner's close relationship to Bernie Ecclestone makes him an ideal replacement © Sutton Images

Christian Horner appears to be the only viable candidate to replace Bernie Ecclestone should the F1 boss lose his upcoming court case in Germany, according to the Times.

Ecclestone was last week cleared of charges he knowingly undersold F1 shares at the High Court, and at present remains safe from the sack despite the unflattering statement of the judge that he was "untruthful and unreliable". CVC Capital Partners, the private equity group that has the controlling shareholding in F1, is reported to be resolutely against firing Ecclestone, unless found guilty of bribery in Munich this April, as there is no viable alternative.

But while CVC chairman Donald Mackenzie, who has the ruling share of the Delta Topco holding company, remains committed to Ecclestone for the time being, it appears a consensus is forming around Horner should Ecclestone lose his court case or retire in the near future.

"There is no doubt Christian fits the bill," a Delta Topco board member told the Times. "Bernie is unique and no one can do what he has been doing. Simple as that. We need someone with experience of Formula One, someone who can deal with television rights and commercial contracts. The fact that Bernie would train Christian up, in effect, looks like a solution to many of the directors."

Horner's appointment is not as simple as it might seem. It might be opposed by the likes of Ferrari president - and Delta Topco board member - Luca di Montezemolo, and is believed to be frowned upon by many of the top teams on the grid.

Much of Horner's reputation comes from the manner he has harnessed Red Bull owner's Dietrich Mateschitz's fortune to win the drivers' and constructors' championships in the last four seasons, while he is also known to be a close Ecclestone ally.

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