Red Bull boss plays down talk of running Formula One

Fri Nov 22, 2013 10:26am EST
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LONDON (Reuters) - Red Bull team boss Christian Horner played down talk that he could run Formula One, after Bernie Ecclestone named him as the ideal candidate to succeed him as the commercial chief of the motor sport.

"It's very flattering what Bernie has said, but he is going to be here for a long time to come," said Horner, whose team has dominated the sport for the past four years.

"He's in great shape and is still doing some great deals for the sport," Horner, 40, told the BBC during practice for the Brazilian Grand Prix in Sao Paulo.

Ecclestone, who has built Formula One into a global money spinner over the past four decades, has always dismissed talk of retirement but is now 83 and is facing legal challenges relating to a 2005 business deal.

Speaking to British reporters in Sao Paulo, Ecclestone said he would like to hand over one day to Horner, a fellow Briton with whom he gets on well. "Christian would be ideal," he said. "I would be happy to hold his hand. We could have a transitional period. It needs someone who knows the sport."

Private equity firm CVC, the largest shareholder in Formula One, declined to comment on the reports.

CVC Co-Chairman Donald Mackenzie told London's High Court this week that Ecclestone would be a hard act to follow and that CVC did not have anyone specific in mind to succeed him.

Referring to the need to line up a potential replacement, given Ecclestone's age, Mackenzie said: "It won't be easy. And we're still thinking of one, trying to find one."

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Red Bull team principal Christian Horner (L) celebrates on the podium with Red Bull Formula One driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany after Vettel won the Singapore F1 Grand Prix at the Marina Bay street circuit in Singapore September 22, 2013. REUTERS/Pablo Sanchez