NEW DELHI - Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone on Sunday brushed aside speculation that he was retiring anytime soon, saying he enjoyed being part of the high-speed action.
Ecclestone, who turned 82 on Sunday, has been in charge of the sport since the 1980s but there has been talk recently of him stepping down once the F1 is floated on the Singapore stock exchange, likely by next year.
“Retirement? Not at the moment,” Ecclestone told reporters ahead of Sunday’s Indian Grand Prix at the Buddh International Circuit.
“I still feel good. When I feel I can’t deliver any longer, I’ll say ‘we’ll move on’.”
Ecclestone said visiting places like India and striking new deals were the things that kept him going, adding that he was planning to resurrect the French Grand Prix next year.
“When you come to places like this and see what it was and you convince people to have a race and build a track, in the end you get a lot of satisfaction.”
The Briton has been enjoying his time at the Indian circuit, mingling freely with the local and international media and chatting to the team owners, who he proudly refers to as the ‘F1 family’.
His comments have been lapped up by the press, given the billions that ride on his F1 decisions.
One such announcement on Sunday sent the media into a frenzy after he stated that the French Grand Prix could return to the F1 calendar as early as next year — the first time the country will have held the race since 2008.
“As far as I am concerned, yes. We are ready to sign. We’ve got a pen, we’re ready to sign a contract. If they are ready we can slot it in the calendar.”
The original 20-race calendar, which was published by the FIA at the end of last month, did not include a slot for a French Grand Prix.
However, it could fill the gap that has been opened up by the absence of the New Jersey race, which was recently postponed as the venue would not be ready in time.
Earlier in the day, Ecclestone, dressed in his trademark black trousers and white shirt, cut a cake and shared drinks with the team principals, although he claimed to hate celebrating birthdays.
“Absolutely true, I hate birthdays,” he said with a wink.