Ecclestone: 'They don't want me to come to races!'

Bernie Ecclestone (GBR)
ยฉ XPB 

Bernie Ecclestone says he is not a welcome visitor to the Formula 1 paddock, although he hasn't been told as much by the sport's new owners.

The former F1 supremo, who reigned on Grand Prix racing for over four decades, was ousted at the beginning of the year when Liberty Media completed its deal to buy Formula 1.

Ecclestone visited a handful of races this year, last appearing at the Austrian Grand Prix back in July, but an unsubtle sign from F1 CEO Chase Carey has kept him away since.

"Chase sent a message to one of the girls in the office to tell me that they havenโ€™t got so many offices at the circuits โ€” only what the race promoter gives them," said Ecclestone in an interview with Sportsmail.

"There are three of them (Carey, commercial director Sean Bratches and technical director Ross Brawn) so the three offices are being used.

"So basically they donโ€™t want me to come to races. It would have been just as easy to have said that to me. Anyway, I have obliged them."

The 86-year-old watches the races and the championship unfold from the comfort of his London home, with his wife Fabiana, but that will soon change as Ecclestone relocates to Switzerland after 80 years in the City.

"We are just setting things up," says Mr E who recently sold his remaining interest in Formula 1, adding over ยฃ300 million to his already nicely filled coffers.

"I have had Swiss residency for nearly 30 years. The intention ages ago was that I would build a house there and move the F1 company abroad, but I couldnโ€™t get all the people I needed to leave England.

"Thatโ€™s the reason I stayed. But now I donโ€™t care about that. I can just go over there and live. I will take a few members of staff, but not many.

"I will still come back to London from time to time, to see friends. I will also spend more time in Brazil, where we have a coffee farm. But Switzerland will be my main home."

As for the current championship fight, predictably, there is no doubt in Ecclestone's mind that Lewis Hamilton will win it.

"Lewis will win it in Austin next race," he says, with the Mercedes driver leading the standings with a comfortable 59-point lead.

"He has driven superbly this season, while Ferrari awoke and then fell asleep."

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